Strikers are born to score goals and the Super Eagles of Nigeria has been blessed with a bunch of finest ones, the best of which is legendary goal getter, Rashidi Yekini.
A few others have managed to join 'Yeking' on the top goal-scoring chart for Nigeria, looking only at Nigeria's goal records after their first World Cup appearance in 1994. The most prolific at the moment are:
Some hate him. Some love him. And there was a time Nigeria could not do without him.
Ike Uche famously scored twice in Nigeria’s four one win over Argentina. And he became a darling to many. He is one of a selected few of Nigerian football stars who have won the African Nations Cup.
Mobile, fleet-footed and two-footed, Uche is too hot a coal to handle for any defender.
Having proven his finishing ability in Getafe and Villarreal against defences of repute like Real Madrid’s, it’s no surprise that he’s earned his call up to the Super Eagles.
With ten goals to his name in the green-white-green, Ike Uche has already bettered the tally of greats like Henry Nwosu, Segun Odegbami et all.
He may have missed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but Ike, aged only 29, still has a few more years in him to add to his tally and move himself up this list.
Another fans’ favourite who is still active for the Super Eagles, Osaze is Nigera’s finest player at the moment.
The light-skinned striker would have registered more goals for his fatherland if he had featured more in his preferred striker’s role. Because of his pace, trickery on the ball, versatility and accurate delivery, Odemwingie is often used on the wings and occasionally as an attacking midfielder.
Osaze has previously worn the colours of Locomotiv Moscow, Lille, West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff and Stoke City yet everywhere he goes, goals have followed him.
His first goals for the Super Eagles came at the CAF African Cup of Nations match against South Africa. It would be the finest debut enjoyed by a Nigerian in recent memory. Osaze bagged two well-taken goals in a four nil win and a star was born.
His latest of his eleven for his nation came as the winning goal for Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup against Bosnia Herzegovina that qualified Nigeria for the second round of the competition.
Thankfully for Nigeria, Odemwingie is still in the business of planting the ball in the opponent’s net and while his ageing bones can continue to stand, he will.
Victor Obinna Nsofor has been to the CAF African Nations Cup and the FIFA World Cup with Nigeria where his versatility and work rate have been a blessing to the country.
He has never pretended to be a consistent goalscorer but his modest return of eleven goals in only six years would make many other strikers boastful.
The former youth international is any manager’s delight. Disciplined, level-headed and committed to the cause, Nsofor has always found favour in the eyes of many a Nigerian coach.
Often deployed as a winger in either flank, he has been an ever present in the Nigerian squad since he made his debut in 2008.
The man popularly known as Papillo is undoubtedly the most decorated Nigerian footballer ever. King Kanu won titles with Ajax and Arsenal and is regarded as a legend among the North London club’s faithfuls.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year represented Nigeria at two World Cups and four CAF African Cup of Nations winning bronze and silver medals.
Never one to net many goals, his meagre twelve goals after more than a decade with the national team betray his creative genius, vision and ability to pick the last pass for his teammate and the many wonderful moments he gave to football fans the world over.
Strangely, Kanu Nwankwo never scored a goal at the African Nations Cup and the World Cup.
You have to pack a lot of courage, fierceness, and terrier-like work-rate before anyone can nickname you a bull, much less a whole nation of football-loving fans. But for Daniel Amokachi, the Super Eagles’ one and only ‘The Bull’, he packed double that at his peak plus a few more goals.
The very player to score the first goal in the UEFA Champions League, Amokachi also scored for debutant Nigeria against Greece at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
Before injury cut short his burgeoning career, Danny had managed thirteen goals for Nigeria- most of them decisive in key games.
There was none with a similar style to his before him and none after him who has tried to copy him has had half as much success.
At the 2002 World Cup, Nigeria played three games, lost two, drew one and scored only one goal before exiting the tournament. That goal was scored by a man who had only recently exchanged the black colours of the Nigeria Police Force for the green and white of the Super Eagles.
Agha’wonder’ had an unquenchable never-say-die spirit that won him the affection of many Nigerians and fetched him a few goals.
He was a terror for defenders and a nightmare for goalkeepers.
He would chase any ball still in play, charge down any sloppy defender and goalkeepers to make terrible mistakes.
Tireless, patriotic and unassuming, Aghahowa epitomised the very essence of the Nigerian spirit.
Austin Okocha was the closest Nigeria ever had to France’s legendary magician, Zinedine Zidane and Argentina's Diego Marandona.
Jay Jay was by some distance the purest talent to have come out of Nigeria. He could dribble half the field on his way to goal. He would sell a step-over without twitching a muscle. His close control was a beauty.
And for a decade, his skill-set reigned supreme in the midfield for Nigeria, dominating in a way no one else, before or after him, could.
Unquestionably Nigeria’s highest scoring midfielder, Okocha blessed his generation with some amazing goals. Incredible free-kicks into the top corner of a keeper’s goal. Unstoppable long range shots beyond the desperate reach of goal-tenders. And countless assists for club and country.
Okocha is worshipped in Turkey, adored in England and revered in France.
Nigeria still seek his replacement in vain.
At a time when Nigeria was blessed with a plethora of strikers and attacking midfielders, Siasia carved a niche and a name for himself.
One of Nigeria’s strikers to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Siasia grabbed his fine Mundial goal against Argentina in a game the Super Eagles played well but eventually lost two goals to one.
During an international career that spanned over nine years, Samson Siasia racked up 14 goals for Nigeria to occupy a proud place in Nigeria’s footballing history.
Former Eagles star, Yakubu Aiyegbeni was a consummate goal scorer without doubt. Just give him the ball and he will plant it in the back of the net as many times as he wants.
Goals followed Yakubu everywhere he went. He plied his trade in Nigeria, Israel, England, even China with significant success and improved reputation. One notable feature was that whichever club he played for, he would almost certainly end as the team’s highest goal scorer.
After a decent outing with the country’s U-23 team to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sidney, Australia, it didn’t take long before he became Nigeria’s top target man.
Strong, built for a fight and calm in front of goal, he hammered goals against Nigeria’s opponent with relative ease and regularity. One of the highest scoring Africans in English league history, his total goal haul of 17 is bettered only by Rashidi and Martins.
How many times have fans seen Obafemi score and then proceed to treat them with six or seven rolls of back-flips? Countless!
As soon as he emerged from the San Siro reserves and turned out for Inter Milan, many could see that a new star had been born and that Nigeria had uncovered yet another rare gem.
He scored loads of goals for Internazionale, Newcastle, Wolfsburg and Birmingham before he took his goal scoring boots with him to the Americas.
Martins’ left foot carried power and incredible precision that turned gazes in Europe. Despite his limited height he could out-jump tall defenders and head the ball strongly goal wards.
At a point he looked set to threaten Rashidi Yekini’s long standing goals record, but a career-threatening injury slowed him down and dented his confidence.
In only a little over half a decade, Obafemi Martins had scored more goals for the Super Eagles than all the greats before him. All bar one, the Goal King himself.
And finally, the Goal King! All Hail!!
35 goals in only 57 appearances, an astonishing SEVENTEEN goals between him and his nearest challenger, Rashidi Yekini is Nigeria’s undisputed Goal King.
After appearing four times at the CAF African Cup of Nations where he emerged tournament top goalscorer on two different occasions, Yekini cemented his place as a true Nigerian Legend by leading the country to the CAN title in Tunisia 1994.
Yet he was far from finished. Scoring all the decisive goals in the qualifying series, Rashidi led the Super Eagles to their first ever World Cup appearance in USA. There he proved his mettle, scoring the country’s first ever World Cup goal and helping Nigeria overcome a highly rated Bulgarian side three goals to nothing.
Rashidi Yekini’s stature as a true Nigerian great was confirmed and sealed.