John Mikel Obi
Top on the list is former Nigerian national football team captain, John Obi Mikel, who called time on his illustrious 16 years international career after leading Nigeria to finish with a bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation hosted in Egypt. Mikel is one of the few footballers to have represented their country at all FIFA level, starting with the U17 FIFA World Cup in Finland (2003), 2005 FIFA U20 World Cup in the Netherlands, before featuring for the Super Eagles.
The former Chelsea midfielder was instrumental in Nigeria’s 2013 AFCON win in South Africa, and he also captained Team Nigeria to the 2016 Olympics in Rio where the Dream Team won bronze. Mikel has equally been outstanding in club football, winning Europe’s elite club competition (UEFA Champions League) with Chelsea FC of England in 2012, amongst other titles like the English Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and more. Without a doubt, Mikel will be remembered as one of the greatest footballers to have worn the Eagles shirt.
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Odion Ighalo also retired from the Super Eagles squad after finishing the 2019 AFCON tournament as the highest goal scorer. Ighalo was also Africa’s highest goal scorer in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers series. He is in contention for the CAF African Footballer of the Year awards.
Kamaru Usman became the first African to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) belt after beating Tyron Woodley on Saturday, March 2, 2019, in a very thrilling Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bout to claim the 170-pound welterweight title at the UFC 235.
Adesanya’s success made the rounds after dethroning Robert Whittaker on October 6, 2019, to claim the middleweight belt of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. An incredible knockout in the second round of the highly anticipated fight was all Adesanya needed to gain global recognition.
Joshua became a two-time World Heavyweight Champion after fighting back from a defeat to Andy Ruiz on June 1, 2019, to reclaim his heavyweight championship belts on December 7, 2019, in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia.
Enekwechi makes the list after setting a new record at the 12th All Africa Games in Morocco. His 21.48m short-put throw eclipsed the old record of 20.25m to clinch gold at the event for Nigeria.
Oduduru started the year brightly by setting a new 200m world record of 20.08 seconds at the Big 12 championship to claim the 200m title. He would go on to break another record at the Micheal Jackson Invitational in Waco, Texas, by becoming the first Nigerian to run a sub-10 since Olusoji Fasuba, 13 years ago.
Since he broke into the senior team of his Spanish club, Villareal CF, in the 2018/2019 season, Chukwueze has enjoyed tremendous success at club and country level. An AFCON 2019 quarterfinal goal for Nigeria and outstanding performances during the tournament cemented his place in the Super Eagles squad. He would go on to be nominated for the World Best U-21 Footballer of the Year award in 2019. Chukwueze is also in contention for the CAF Young Player of the Year award.
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Okogie’s performance against China in the last classification game for D’Tigers at the FIBA World Cup puts him on this list. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ guard registered a total of 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks, against China to help Nigeria qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.
The Leicester City of England midfielder makes the list for his decent performances for club and country which has seen him named man of the match in many cases especially during the AFCON in Egypt. 22-year old Ndidi is considered one of the world’s best defensive midfielders at the moment.
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