Nigeria is always a country that has punched well above its weight, and nowhere is this more clear than in the world of sports and entertainment. Nigerian athletes rank among the most successful and visible figures in the worlds of Olympic sports, basketball, cricket, and, of course, football.
Not only is the Nigerian national squad becoming a force to be reckoned with on the global stage, but many homegrown footballers have swelled the ranks of some of the best leagues on Earth. With that in mind, read on to find out which Nigerian footballers are the very best in the world in 2021.
1. Wilfred Ndidi
Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has enjoyed one of the most meteoric career journeys of the past 12 months, going from a bit-player to one of the most prominent figures in English football. While his performance had been middling prior to the 2021 season, his stellar performances this year so far have ensured that all eyes are on him.
From scoring the first goal of the season for Leicester City to playing an instrumental role in securing Leicester’s first-ever FA Cup win, Ndidi is now regularly featured on the latest sports betting news sites. Platforms such as Bet365 now devote extensive coverage to the Foxes, demonstrating this player’s success.
2. Semi Ajayi
The 27-year-old defender, Semi Ajayi is certainly busy these days, playing both at the English club West Bromwich Albion and for the Nigerian national squad. After a spell playing for various European U-20 squads and a few loan periods for mid-level English clubs, Ajayi seems to be making a big name for himself. Following a stellar set of performances throughout his first few games with Bromwich, Ajayi is most definitely one to watch in the months ahead.
3. Joe Aribo
Midfielder Joe Aribo currently players for the Rangers in Scotland, as well as the Nigerian national team. Although his previous career prior to rangers was decidedly more low-key, with stints at lesser-known clubs such as Crawley FC, it seems that this is a player on the cusp of greatness. Despite being new to a club as iconic and prominent as the Rangers, he has a 100% success record so far, scoring in almost every game and catching the attention of the entire Scottish League.
4. Kelechi Iheanacho
Another Leicester City player, Kelechi Iheanacho is one of the more established players on this list, who is worth looking out for. Commentators assumed he was destined for great things back in 2017, when Leicester poached him from Man City for £25 million, and it would seem they were correct. He has been ranked as one of the top players in the most recent FA Cup season, with his 17 goals proving to be vital to Leicester’s victory in May. Keep an eye out for Iheanacho during the next transfer season.
These are some of the top Nigerian footballers to watch right now. Stay tuned to find out more about where these star players end up.