Yekini, Okocha, Odegbami…. Nigeria’s top scorers in the history of the African Cup of Nations
In 1963, Nigeria made her debut at the most prestigious footballing competition on the African continent – 56 years, and 31 editions of the AFCON after, the most populated country on the continent has played 86 games, won 46, drew 17, and lost 25 games.
Ahead of the 32nd of the African Championships, the Super Eagles – three-time AFCON winners have been mooted amongst the favourites to win a this year’s title, and that prediction, looked rather more plausible, after getting drawn in a somewhat easy group.
Goals have been scored against the team and goals will still be scored in the future. On the other hand, the Super Eagles will as well score against opponents in the future in the tournament, but so far, the 1980, 1994 and 2013 African Champions have scored 86 goals in the history of the AFCON, and here are Nigeria’s players with the most goals in the competition.
Rashidi Yekini (13)
Nigeria’s all-time scorer with 37 goals also doubles as the man with most goals for the Super Eagles in the history of AFCON with 13 goals, and only Laurent Poku (14) and Samuel Eto’o (18) edge the late former striker’s scoring record in the tournament.
In Senegal 1992 and Tunisia 1994, Yekini emerged as the AFCON’s top scorer with four and five goals respectively. At the latter, which Nigeria won, the former Vitoria Setubal striker also won the competition’s best player.
Jay-Jay Okocha (7)
The former Eagles midfield maestro wasn’t good only with the dribbles in his days, but was a master at finding the back of the net in the green and white colours. Okocha, at the 2000 AFCON, co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana, scored three goals, and later in 2004, he added four more. The first of those goals in 2004, was the 1,000th in the competition’s history. He won the 2004 competition’s best player and was also joint top-scorer alongside Frederick Kanoute, Patrick Mboma, and Francileudo Dos Santos.
Segun Odegbami and Julius Aghahowa (6)
Both the mathematician and Aghahowa are on six goals apiece for Nigeria at the AFCON. Odegbami, in 1978 and 1980 was the joint top scorer with three goals each. Aghahowa on the other hand, with a total of 32 appearances for the Eagles, scored 14 goals – six of which were scored at the AFCON. In 2002, he was the joint top scorer alongside Cameroon’s duo of Rene Olembe and Patrick Mboma.
Mudashiru Lawal and Peter Osaze Odemwingie (5)
The 86-capped Mudashiru Lawal holds the record for the only player to have appeared in 5 consecutive AFCON tournaments (1976-1984). In an international career that lasted for a decade, Muda scored 12 goals, five of which were at the AFCON.
Also on five goals for Nigeria at the AFCON is Peter Odemwingie. The forward, made his AFCON debut with two goals in the 4-0 win over South Africa – the second for that day he made it memorable with a lovely dance. The player, who later became a controversial figure in the latter stages of his career, further went on to appear in three other AFCON tournaments, making the best XI in 2010 in Angola.