The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is the top-flight level of the Nigerian football league system, where Nigerian clubs compete. Many Nigerian footballers have played in the NPFL before playing for the senior national team or moving abroad.
However, all through the years, some players have managed to write their names in the sands of time of the NPFL. These players have managed to give their best, and they continue to remain relevant in discussions of the best players to have featured in Nigeria’s elite league. Here are the five greatest NPFL players of all time, in no particular order.
1. Mfon Udoh
Mfon Udoh is the highest goalscorer in the history of the Nigeria Professional Football League. He began his career with his hometown club Akwa United FC and was an instant hit in his first season at the club.
Mfon Udoh reached prominence with Enyimba when he scored 23 league goals in 2014. His record still stands at the time of this writing. Udoh also won the NPFL title with Enyimba in 2015 and was the top scorer with the club at the 2016 CAF Champions League with nine goals.
2. Rabiu Ali
Kano Pillars have had a rich history in the NPFL, but it can’t be complete without the mention of midfielder Rabiu Ali.
Ali was important in the treble NPFL wins that the team had between 2011 and 2014. The skipper is now close to 41 but still remains a big part of the home-based Super Eagles. He is one of the oldest footballers still playing football in the world.
3. Ahmed Musa
One of the first players of the new generation to have made his mark is the Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa. Musa started his career in the GBS Football Academy, before he moved to Kano Pillars.
Musa broke from the Kano Pillars team with 18 goals that stood as the record goalscorer in the NPFL with 18 goals before it was broken by Jude Aneke seasons later.
Musa is still waxing in the national team as one of the success stories of the NPFL.
4. Victor Ezeji
Victor Ezeji is one of the most successful and longest-serving players to have played in the Nigeria Professional Football League in a career that spanned across six NPFL clubs.
Ezeji played for Enyimba, Sharks FC, Crown FC, Heartland, Dolphins, and Sunshine Stars FC He won the CAF Champions League in 2003 as well as the Federation Cup and league title. No NPFL history discussion is complete without his name.
5. Stephen Keshi
The big boss was one of the players from the local league that paved the way for Nigerian players to move from Nigeria to foreign leagues.
Stephen Keshi played for teams like ACB Lagos and New Nigerian Bank before moving to Ivory Coast in 1985. The story of the big defender is still well documented, leading the Super Eagles to the AFCON as a player and coach.
6. Vincent Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama is said to be one of the greatest African goalkeepers of all time. He began his football career with Ibom Stars, but made his mark at Enyimba. At Enyimba International FC, Enyeama won the CAF Champions League twice, before he stepped up to become the number 1 goalie for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. He also played for Iwuanyanwu Nationale in the NPFL.
7. Segun Odegbami
Segun Odegbami is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to play in the NPFL. He spent his entire career at IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, playing from 1970 to 1984. He won the Nigerian Premier League title in 1976, 1980, and 1983. He went to make 47 appearances for the national team, scoring 22 goals.
Other notable NPFL players are Christian Chukwu, Yisa Sofoluwe, Jude Aneke, Davidson Owumi, and Muda Lawal.