Ranked: The best football stadiums in Nigeria

Ranked: The best football stadiums in Nigeria
Credit: Icon Sport

Football stadiums in Nigeria are a dime a dozen. No state in the country doesn’t own one. They range from the five thousand capacity to as much as 60,000.

The football stadiums in Nigeria come in different shapes and sizes with varying levels of facilities. Most of these stadiums are either Federal or State Government-owned.

There are few private football stadiums in Nigeria.

Despite the plethora of football stadiums in Nigeria, finding one of international standards is arduous.

It is not unusual to hear international football bodies like CAF and FIFA turning down stadiums in the country for not being up to standard.

Let’s look at and rank the top football stadiums in Nigeria.

Ranked: Top 10 football stadiums in Nigeria

10 – Mobolaji Johnson Arena – Lagos

In 2019, the arena (The Onikan Waterfront) got its name after a former state military administrator. It is the oldest stadium in Nigeria – built in 1930.

It is one of the few football stadiums in Nigeria that is not a multi-purpose sports centre. The stadium became one of the most beautiful in the country after a facelift.

It has a capacity of 5,000 and a hybrid pitch. The Mobolaji Johnson Arena is home to Smart City FC and Sporting Lagos.

9 – Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba

Like most stadiums in the country, the Stephen Keshi Stadium is a multi-purpose sports venue.

It has the name of a former Super Eagles captain and is in Asaba, Delta State.

The stadium was known as the Asaba Township Stadium before renovation works upgraded it to its present state.

The seats at the stadium are all covered, and it has a capacity of 22,000. It has hosted many events, including the African Championships in Athletics – 2018.

8 – Samuel Ogbemudia (Ogbe) Stadium, Benin City

Samuel Ogbemudia (Ogbe) Stadium
Credit @DokunOjomo Twitter

The Ogbe Stadium, as it used to be known, is another multi-purpose arena for sporting events.
It was named after Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, who served as Governor of the old Bendel State.

It has a capacity of 12,000 and is home to the state-owned football teams Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens FC.

7 – Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano

Sani Abacha Stadium
Credit @AkwaUnited_fc Twitter

The Stadium was named after a former Nigerian military Head of State, General Sani Abacha. It is one of the biggest football stadiums in Nigeria, with a capacity of 16,000 spectators.

It was a centre for some group FIFA Under-17 World Cup matches in 2009. It hosted Spain, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Malawi. It also hosted the round of 16 match between Spain and Burkina Faso.

6. Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt

Yakubu Gowon Stadium
Credit @Naijafootballpl Twitter

With a capacity of 16,000, the Yakubu Gowon Stadium is one of the biggest in Nigeria. It is not just a football stadium but also home to other sports.

Before its rechristening, it was the Liberation Stadium, the home of Rivers United F.C., named after a former military Head of State and renovated in 1998 before its expansion in 2001.

5 – U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar

The U. J. Esuene Stadium hosts both football and athletics. The 16,000-capacity edifice is in Calabar, Cross River.

The stadium was open to the public from April 2, 1977. The event witnessed a match between Bendel Insurance F.C. and Calabar Rovers of Calabar.

It was also one of the centres for the 2003 All-Africa Games and the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

It has modern facilities like electronic video-matrix scoreboards and stunning floodlights.

4 – Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu

It is one of the oldest football stadiums in Nigeria. It was built in 1959 and has a capacity of 20,000.

The NAS is home to Enugu Rangers and has a synthetic pitch. The stadium got its name after a former civilian president of the country, but the playing surface is under renovation.

It is also a multi-purpose sporting facility and hosted some matches of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

3 – Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere

The Teslim Balogun Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium belonging to the government of Lagos State. Teslim Balogun was a former professional footballer from Lagos State.

It is one of the biggest football stadiums in Nigeria, with a 24,325 capacity.

The venue hosted matches of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. It has hosted many important events, including the Nigerian FA Cup final and the 18th National Sports Festival.

The construction cost N1.3 billion naira, taking 23 years to complete.

2 – Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja

Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja
Credit @toks0147 Twitter

With the state of the national stadium, Lagos, in a sorry state, the Federal Government needed a befitting arena, especially as the nation's capital had moved to Abuja. It led to the construction of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.

It is a multipurpose stadium and has hosted several national and international sporting events.

It took three years (from 2000 – 2003) to build, costing $360 million. It was baptized in honour of Late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola in 2019.

Moshood Abiola National Stadium has a seating capacity of 60,491. It is the largest stadium in Nigeria currently.

1. Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium
Credit @AfricaFactsZone Twitter

The Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, known as Akwa Ibom International Stadium, is perhaps the best in Nigeria.

The multi-purpose arena was completed in 2014. It has a 30,000 capacity.

It has several exciting features like Bulletproof VIP/VVIP sections, folding seats, two digital scoreboards, digital playback screens, digital flood lights, and 30 emergency exits.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).