Former captains Joseph Yobo and John Mikel Obi lead the way in the ACLSports Super Eagles Team of the Decade compiled by our team of experts.
The compilation covers the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2019 which marks a full decade of ups and downs, glories and agonies for Nigeria’s most loved football national team.
The decade started with an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) bronze medal in Angola in February 2010 and also ended with same result in Egypt in July 2019.
Take a look at our picks.
A non-debatable choice in goal. Vincent was between the sticks consistently from 2010 to 2015 until things went south between him and then new head coach Sunday Oliseh. He never made a return to the team and the team’s goalkeeping position hardly ever knew peace since then.
Seven World Cup appearances and two Nations Cup medals (a Gold and a bronze), led him up to a century of appearances for the national team.
This centre back turned full back (for the Eagles) gets into the team for his exploits under Stephen Keshi. Ambrose played a key role in winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and was also involved in back to back tournaments in Brazil thereafter.
Another centurion in this selection. Seven World Cup caps during this period and an Africa Cup of Nations gold medal gave Joseph Yobo a spot in this team. Was a regular at the 2010 AFCON and World Cup finals. Although it could be argued that he was benched after the first game in the 2013 AFCON win but he bounced back to sign off adequately at the 2014 World Cup.
Came in unheralded in 2013 but has proved to be a mainstay in the team. Omeruo was imperious in the AFCON win in 2013, even as a teenager. He kept up his performances through to the 2014 and 2018 World Cup tournaments and even till the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. One of just two members of this selection that remain conspicuous in the squad till date.
Switched nationality from England to Nigeria at the start of the decade and was instrumental to the success recorded by the Super Eagles during the decade.
Five World Cup caps and the 2013 AFCON winners medal were the highlights of his participation. His contribution towards qualification for the 2018 World Cup were also invaluable.
John Mikel Obi:
Arguably the Player of the Decade as Mikel was present in the team from 2010 January to 2019 July. He grew to the rank of captain for the side, wearing the armband over 20 times. A distinguished member of the 2013 AFCON success and added Bronze in 2010 and 2019 to his rich collection of silverware at club level within this period. He was also the closest a Nigerian player got to the CAF Player of the Year gong in the last decade when he finished 2nd behind Yaya Toure in 2013.
Onazi, just like Omeruo got into the team as a green horn for the 2013 AFCON and by the time the tournament had ended, he had kept the defensive midfield position for himself. He was one of Nigeria’s better players at the 2014 World Cup and remained a regular in the team until the 2018 World Cup where he was an unused substitute.
He broke into the team at the start of the decade and ensured that Taye Taiwo retired from the Super Eagles after his reassuring displays in Angola 2010. Echiejile was also monstrous for the Super Eagles in that AFCON triumph in 2013 and though he declined in late 2017, he had already contributed his quota to Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
Current captain of the team and a veteran of two World Cups and two Nations Cup battles. Four World Cup goals, an AFCON winners and bronze medal are just enough for Musa to register his name in this auspicious list of top eleven performers in the hallowed Green and White jersey for the decade under review.
Emenike did not spend much time in the team but made his presence felt with important contributions from 2011 to 2014. Tournament’s top scorer at the 2013 AFCON and scorer of crucial qualifying goals for the Super Eagles en route to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He nicks his spot.
Ighalo took over the Number 9 mantle from Emenike and made his contributions felt in the end. He finished as top scorer in qualifying for the 2019 AFCON and added the main tournament’s accolade to his collection.
Stephen Keshi – Another comfortable choice. Keshi took the reins of the team in 2012 and brought back the glory days of Nigeria in African football with the 2013 AFCON conquest and a second round qualification at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
What do you make of our selection? Which do you agree with or which do you disagree with? Let us know in the comments section.