Top 5: Nigeria's greatest goalscorers in AFCON history

Top 5: Nigeria's greatest goalscorers in AFCON history

  • Nigeria debuted at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963, with Asuquo Ekpe netting the country's first-ever goal in the competition.
  • Several other players have contributed to Nigeria's impressive haul of 137 goals in the continental championship since then.
  • EaglesTracker highlights the top five most prolific Nigerians in the history of the AFCON.

1. Rashidi Yekini - 13 goals

Nigeria's greatest goalscorer of all time, Rashidi Yekini found the net 37 times for the Super Eagles.
Thirteen of those goals came in 24 appearances across five editions of the AFCON.

Yekini scored once in 1988, netted three goals in 1990, and was the top scorer at Senegal '92 with four goals as Nigeria picked up a bronze medal.

The former Sporting Gijón striker yet again finished as the highest goalscorer (5 goals) and best player at Tunisia '94, where the Super Eagles won the title for the second time.

Yekini died in May 2012.

2. Austin Okocha - 7 goals

Okocha was a key member of the Super Eagles squad that won the AFCON title in 1994.

Even though he did not score at that edition, the mercurial midfielder was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Okocha's first goals at the AFCON, however, arrived six years later when he netted a brilliant brace in the 4-2 win over Tunisia in the Super Eagles' opening match at Ghana/Nigeria 2000.

The former PSG man scored again in the final, where Nigeria lost on penalties to champions Cameroon.

Okocha will indeed be remembered for his excellence at the 2004 championships, where he netted four goals to finish as the joint-top scorer and the best player of the tournament.

3. Segun Odegbami, Julius Aghahowa - 6 goals

One of Nigeria's greatest football heroes, Odegbami was the country's goalscoring king with 22 goals until Rashidi Yekini came along and took the crown from him.

Odegbami was the first Nigerian to finish as the top scorer at two different editions of the AFCON, achieving the feat in 1978 and 1980 with three goals each.

In 1978, Odegbami's goals helped Nigeria claim a bronze medal, and on home soil two years later, he was the key man in attack as the Green Eagles defeated all opposition to win the tournament for the first time in history.

A prolific marksman at his peak, Aghahowa netted 14 goals in 32 matches for the Nigerian national team between 2000 and 2007.

The former police officer is fondly remembered as Nigeria's only goalscorer at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Aghahowa also made his mark at the AFCON, netting three goals at Ghana/Nigeria 2000, where the Super Eagles were runners-up to Cameroon. He repeated the feat at the 2002 edition to finish among the top goalscorers and help Nigeria claim a third-place medal.

5. Peter Odemwingie, Odion Ighalo, Muda Lawal - 5 goals

Ighalo was in beast mode at his debut AFCON appearance in 2019, banging five goals in seven games to win the top scorer award. Nigeria also won the bronze medal.

Odemwingie needed 16 matches to score his five goals, but his brace on his debut against South Africa in 2004 warmed him into the hearts of millions of Nigerians forever. For his haul, the former Lille forward grabbed three goals in 2004 and two in 2010.

One of Nigeria's most accomplished midfielders, Mudashiru Lawal is the first African player on record to appear at five consecutive Nations' Cup finals, helping Nigeria win the trophy in 1980. Lawal scored twice in 1976, another two goals in 1980, and once in 1984.

The former Shooting Stars FC hero died in 1991.

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