7 Super Eagles players who completed an unbeaten league season

7 Super Eagles players who completed an unbeaten league season
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella have joined a list of Super Eagles players who completed a historic unbeaten end to a league season.

Boniface and Tella, who both play for Bayer Leverkusen, achieved a remarkable feat in the German Bundesliga history, one no other team has ever accomplished in 60 years of the league's existence.

It was on Saturday, 18 May 2024, that history was made at the BayArena; the home stadium of Bayer Leverkusen, who defeated Augsburg 2-1 to end a 34-game Bundesliga season invincible.

Die Werkself recorded 28 wins, 6 draws, and 0 defeats in those 34 league matches, scored 89 goals and conceded 24 times to finish 90 points, 17 above second-place Stuttgart.

Xavi Alonso's side joined clubs like Glasgow Rangers, Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal, and Juventus in the exclusive lists of teams who ended their league campaigns without defeat.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso holds the Bundesliga title. Credit: Icon Sport

Such a memorable achievement is a source of pride for not only the clubs and fans, but also for the players who showcased exceptional hardwork and selflessness in the entire duration of the season.

In this article, you will discover the seven Super Eagles players who have known what it takes and what it feels like to achieve invincibility.

Super Eagles players who enjoyed an unbeaten league campaign

1. Nwankwo Kanu (1994/95, 2003/04)

Nwankwo Kanu, popularly called “Papilo” is a legendary Super Eagles player who not only achieved invincibility once, but twice with Ajax and Arsenal.

Ajax

Kanu Nwankwo at Ajax
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Kanu was part of the Ajax squad that went unbeaten in the 1994/95 Eredivisie season. He made 18 league appearances, and scored 10 goals, a considerable leap in performance for the Dutch side in his second season.

Papilo's contributions that season showcased the pivotal role he played to propel de Joden to an unbeaten league season.

Arsenal

Nine years after helping Ajax achieve invincibility in the Eredivisie, Kanu was again part of another side which scripted history. This time, in the Premier League.

The former African Player of the Year was a member of the legendary Arsen Wenger Arsenal of the 2003/04 season famously nicknamed “The Invincibles.”

Spearheaded by Thierry Henry, Arsenal accomplished the incredible feat of going through the entire 2003/04 Premier League season without a single defeat, after recording 26 wins and 12 draws.

Due to fierce competition in the squad, Kanu was not a regular starter and was limited to just 10 games that season, but was able to score once and was massive in keeping the team's morale and balance in the dressing room.

2. George Finidi (1994/95)

Super Eagles players Finidi and Kanu
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Just like his Super Eagles teammate Kanu, George Finidi was part of the Ajax Amsterdam team who triumphed in the Eredivisie without losing a game during the 1994/95 season.

Now coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi was a crucial member of the legendary Louis van Gaal Ajax side which dominated the Dutch league with a brand of attacking football reminiscent of the great Barcelona side of 2009.

The former Enyimba coach scored 8 goals and had 9 assists in 30 appearances in the league for Ajax that season, but his influence went beyond numbers. A constant threat on the right flank, Finidi stretched defenses and created space for his teammates. His impact on the team's overall attacking play was undeniable.

Till date, Finidi's contribution to Ajax's historic unbeaten run remains etched in the club's memory who have continued to send their heartfelt wishes in every of his birthday celebrations.

3. Joe Aribo (2020/21)

Super Eagles player Joe Aribo
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Joseph Oluwaseyi Aribo was part of the Steven Gerrard Glasgow Rangers side that went unbeaten in the 2020/21 Scottish League season.

Aribo scored 7 goals in 31 league matches, a remarkable contribution to Rangers' title-winning season.

He was singled out for praise by manager Gerrard for playing as an emergency left-back due to Borna Barišić's absence in a 3-0 win at Livingston: “That left-back performance is as good as we have seen in my three years that I have been here. So well done to him for parking his ego and doing a fantastic job for his teammates.”

With that achievement, Aribo joined an exclusive list of Super Eagles players who won the league with an unbeaten record.

4. Leon Balogun (2020/21)

Super Eagles players Balogun and Aribo
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Leon Aderemi Balogun was one of three Nigerian players in the invincible Rangers squad of the 2020/21 season.

Under just a two-year contract with the Scottish giants, Balogun made the most of his time with the team where he impressed in all 19 league appearances during their unbeaten first season.

Deployed as both left-back and right-back depending on injuries and suspensions suffered by his teammates, the 2019 Bronze AFCON medalist with Nigeria showcased his bravery and versatility on both sides of the defense line.

Although Balogun was not as good going forward as James Tavernier in the right-back position, he was able to hold his own when the Scottish defender got injured that season. And together, the team scripted history under the guidance of Liverpool great, Steven Gerrard.

5. Calvin Bassey (2020/21)

Super Eagles player Calvin Bassey
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

After joining Rangers in July 2020, he made his league debut for the club in August against St Mirren as a substitute in a 3-0 victory for Gerrard's side.

Although Bassey was not a key figure in the invincible team that won the league, he was able to play eight matches as he continued to fight for a starting spot in the team.

While his teammates did most of the job, Bassey showcased patience and good team spirit within the dressing room which was crucial to his side's success on the field of play.

Like Aribo and Balogun, Bassey joined the list of Super Eagles players who won a European league title unbeaten.

6. Victor Boniface (2023/24)

Super Eagles player Boniface
Credit: Photo by Icon Sport

Victor Boniface‘s contributions to Die Werkself's unbeaten run to the Bundesliga title was nothing short of remarkable.

In just his first season in Germany, Boniface integrated so quickly to help Leverkusen achieve an entire league season without tasting defeat.

Alonso built a winning machine which Boniface provided attacking excellence along with his teammates, and together they scored an impressive 89 goals with the 23-year-old scoring 14 of them in 23 appearances.

Interestingly, the former Union SG forward did not only get the goals, he was also good in setting up his teammates because he raked in nine assists as well.

Boniface's stellar campaign did not go unnoticed by the Bundesliga hierarchy, as he was duly awarded the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season to add to four Rookie of the Month awards which he bagged in 2023.

When it was all said and done, the contributions of Boniface to the club's record-setting season has helped his stock and value to rise significantly and it's only a matter of time before he begins to produce such performances for the Super Eagles.

7. Nathan Tella (2023/24)

Nathan Tella in action for Bayer Leverkusen
Photo by Icon Sport

Nathan Tella was a valuable asset for Bayer Leverkusen under manager Xabi Alonso.

More of a squad player, the Nigerian midfielder proved his versatility and adaptability throughout the club's historic unbeaten campaign.

The Spanish tactician, Alonso, vigorously used Tella in several positions which he adapted to and excelled at. He was deployed as an attacking midfielder, right midfielder, right winger, and even left winger to add depth and confusion to opposing teams who found it hard to break down the team.

In 24 league appearances during the season, Tella had nine goal involvements in the Bundesliga, scoring five and registering four assists. These numbers showcased his ability to not only find the back of the net, but also create opportunities for his teammates.

Granted, his compatriot Boniface spearheaded Leverkusen's attack, Tella in his own part provided crucial support with his versatility and creativity to help achieve an unbeaten end to the season.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.