The Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) may not be as popular as top football clubs in Europe, but they are among the best in Africa. Clubs like Enyimba F.C. and Kano Pillars have well represented the country in the CAF Champions League many times.
However, due to the dominance of European clubs among football fans in Nigeria, many do not know that there are wealthy football clubs in NPFL. Notable among the clubs are:
1. Ifeanyi Ubah F.C. – Anambra
The football club is privately owned by Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah who is a serving senator and businessman in Nigeria. Ifeanyi Ubah F.C. was initially known as Iyayi Football Club of Benin. It was later acquired by Chief Gabriel Chukwuma who renamed the club Gabros International F.C. Dr Ubah bought the club in 2015 and named it after himself. The club is located in Nnewi, Anambra. They are the richest football club in Nigeria.
2. Kano Pillars F.C. – Kano
Kano Pillars is one of the oldest clubs in Nigeria. The club has produced top players for Super Eagles like Ahmed Musa. Owned by Kano State government, Pillars were founded in 1990. The club’s home stadium is Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano. Pillars had won the Nigeria four times; in 2008 before they claimed a hat-trick of the title in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
3. Akwa United F.C. – Akwa Ibom
The 23-year-old club was founded by the then Military Administrator of the state, Navy Captin Joseph Adelusi. Akwa United have their home stadium in Uyo. They won the Nigeria Cup twice, the Super Cup and the Super Four once.
4. Lobi Stars F.C. – Benue
Lobi Stars was founded after Lobi Banks acquired the football club in 1990. Lobi Stars began their journey as Hawks of Makurdi, Benue State in 1981. It was renamed Benue Breweries Limited Hawks Football Club in 1985. The club is among the oldest clubs in Nigeria League.
5. Enyimba F.C. – Abia
Though not the richest, Enyimba F.C. could pass for the best football club in Nigeria. The Aba-based club won the CAF Champions League twice in 2003 and 2004, four Federation Cups and seven Nigeria Championship titles. The club was founded in 1976 and nicked named “The People’s Elephant.”
Enyimba are also one of the most popular clubs in Nigeria.