All-time Super Eagles AFCON squad

All-time Super Eagles AFCON squad
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles have been one of the most successful teams in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations. Over the years, hundreds of players have represented Nigeria at the AFCON, with some players doing so in multiple tournaments. With that in mind, what would the Super Eagles' all time starting line-up at the AFCON look like?

All-time Super Eagles XI at the AFCON

Goalkeeper

A case can be made for Best Ogedegbe and Peter Rufai, as both players were the first choice goalies in Nigeria's first two AFCON triumphs. Ogedegbe even made the CAF team of the tournament in 1980. However, our best goalkeeper goes to Vincent Enyeama. Between 2004 and 2013, the former Lille shot-stopper reached four AFCON semi-finals, winning one title with three bronze medals. He was also named goalkeeper of the tournament twice, in 2004 and 2013.

Vincent Enyeama in action for the Super Eagles at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Credit: Icon Sport

Defenders

When it comes to right backs, there are a few players that come to mind, including Sylvanus Okpala and David Adiele. However, Austin Eguavoen was a vital part of the Super Eagles squad that qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history in 1994. He was the team's captain in the 1994 AFCON final, after Stephen Keshi was injured in the semi-final. Interestingly, Eguavoen guided his country to a third-place finish in 2006, in one of his three stints as Super Eagles coach.

Christian ‘Chairman' Chukwu was the first Super Eagles captain to lift the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980. He was the backbone of that defense, which earned him the best player of the tournament award.

The late Stephen Keshi took over from Christian Chukwu as captain of the Super Eagles when he was 21, and he is arguably the greatest captain the national team has ever seen. The ‘big boss' guided the Super Eagles to their second AFCON title, as well as their first FIFA World Cup appearance in 1994. He was the first and only person to win two AFCON titles for Nigeria; once as a player and once as a coach, when he guided the Super Eagles to their third title in 2013.

Stephen Keshi lifts the 1994 AFCON title with the Super Eagles
Credit: Icon Sport

Benedict Iroha is one of the greatest left backs to represent the Super Eagles. He reached two AFCON finals with Nigeria's national team (1990 and 1994), winning a gold and a silver medal.

Midfielders

It's a bit tricky to choose four midfielders, especially considering the kind of players the Super Eagles have had over the years. Former Ajax and Arsenal midfielder Kanu Nwankwo won the African footballer of the year award on two occasions, but never actually won AFCON gold. To be fair, he reached the semi-finals in five tournaments, winning a silver medal and four bronze medals.

That said, the late Mudashiru Babatunde ‘Muda' Lawal is the only Super Eagles player to participate in five consecutive AFCON events. Between 1976 to 1984, Lawal and the Super Eagles reached four semi-finals, winning a gold, a silver and two bronze medals. As a matter of fact, Lawal scored in two AFCON finals, and some of his goals helped Nigeria win their first ever title in 1980.

Sunday Oliseh represented the Super Eagles for nine years between 1993 and 2002. His performance at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations will always be in the hearts of Nigerians. Of the Super Eagles' six goals from open play, five of those goals came directly from Oliseh. Interestingly, assists weren't a stat in football at the time (FIFA actually started tracking assists a few months later at the 94 World Cup).

Sunday Oliseh contends with Roberto Baggio at the Super Eagles vs Italy 1994 FIFA World Cup
Credit: Icon Sport

Speaking of the 1994 AFCON, Emmanuel Amunike put up a man-of-the-match performance in the final; as his two goals clinched the Super Eagles' second AFCON title. Due to his stellar performances, Amunike was named Africa's best player in 1994. The former Barcelona player was also a part of the Super Eagles squad that lost in the 2000 AFCON final.

The last midfielder on our list is undoubtedly the most skillful player to ever don the green-white-green. Augustine ‘Jay Jay' Okocha captained the national team when they won their second AFCON title in 1994. Between 1993 and 1996, Okocha helped the Super Eagles qualify for three FIFA World Cups, and five AFCON events. As a matter of fact, Nigeria reached the semi-finals in all five occasions, winning a gold, a silver and three bronze medals.

Jay Jay Okocha in action for the Super Eagles
Credit: Icon Sport

Forwards

The late Rashidi Yekini is currently Nigeria's all-time top scorer across all competitions with 37 goals. He has scored at least 14 more goals than any other Super Eagles player in history. It may also interest you to know that only two players have scored more goals than Yekini in the history of the AFCON; as his 13 goals at the Nations Cup puts him behind Samuel Eto'o and Laurent Pokou on the all-time scorers list.

That said, Yekini won the AFCON golden boot on two occasions, in 1992 and 1994. He was also the player of the tournament in the 1994 event, where he scored five times. Also, the former Olympiacos player found the net in four different Nations Cup competitions.

Rashidi Yekini contends with Roberto Donadoni in Super Eagles vs Italy 1994 FIFA World Cup
Credit: Icon Sport

It's important to note that Yekini is the most successful Super Eagles player when it comes to the Nations Cup. Between 1984 and 1994, Nigeria reached four AFCON finals, and were semi-finalists five times. In addition to two golden boots and a golden ball, the former Olympiacos player has a gold medal, three silver medals and a bronze medal in this tournament. He also won the African footballer of the year award in 1993, and was the Super Eagles' first ever goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup.

At the time of writing, Segun ‘Mathematical' Odegbami is second on the Super Eagles' all-time top scorers list; although Napoli striker Victor Osimhen will likely overtake him sometime in 2024.


That said, Odegbami participated in two editions of the AFCON, and he was the joint top-scorer in both tournaments. He also helped the Super Eagles win their first ever Nations Cup title in 1980, where he scored twice in the final. This earned him a place in the team of the tournament.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Kelechi is a huge sports fan with over 10 years of betting experience. He has written thousands of match previews on football, tennis, basketball and American football in the past few years.