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Picking a Super Eagles Dream Team of the decade

01:51 GMT+4 25/12/2019
Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama - 2014 World Cup
Goal celebrates the Nigerians who made an impact for the national team over the last 10 years

  • Vincent Enyeama

    Vincent Enyeama

    It’s hard to even consider anyone besides Enyeama as the Super Eagles' selection in goal.

    The consistent shot-stopper, who made 101 appearances for the West African giants, was one of the shining lights in the country’s Africa Cup of Nations win in 2013, their first success since 1994.

    Deservedly, he was named in the Team of the Tournament having conceded just four times in six games.

    Furthermore, Enyeama’s performance in Nigeria’s 1-0 loss against Argentina at the 2010 World Cup was lauded, owing to the sheer number of saves he made to prevent a bigger defeat.

    The soon-to-retire goalkeeper replaced Ike Shorunmu in 2002, and was first-choice for over a decade till 2015.

    Nigeria have struggled to find a consistent replacement in nearly four years, and they probably wouldn’t get someone who'll match the former Enyimba goalie…he was that good!

  • Efe Ambrose, John Obi Mikel

    Efe Ambrose

    Another whose influence also came in the first half of the decade, Ambrose formed part of the back line that let in only four goals on the way to 2013’s Afcon success.

    The centre-back, who featured predominantly at right-back for the Super Eagles, was one of the five Nigerian stars who made into the Afcon XI – and was the only defender from the quintet.

  • Joseph Yobo

    Joseph Yobo

    Not as involved in Nigeria’s Afcon triumph as he might have liked, but the influence he carried in the camp was, more or less, equal to Enyeama’s.

    Yobo featured in the 2014 World Cup, and was part of the backline that kept a clean sheet in Nigeria’s 1-0 over Bosnia & Herzegovina, the nation’s first win at the global showpiece since 1998.

    He retired after a 2-0 defeat by France, as he was happy to “give a chance to other people to come through.”

  • Kenneth Omeruo - Nigeria

    Kenneth Omeruo

    Still only 26, Omeruo seems to have been around for ages.

    The Leganes centre-back has played in all of Nigeria’s major competitions in the current decade – Afcon and Confederations Cup in 2013, World Cups in 2014 and 2018, and Afcon 2019 – whilst having a prominent role in every tournament.

    As it is, the former Chelsea man will certainly have a central role in the first half of the next decade.

  • Elderson Echiejile

    Elderson Echiejile

    Echiejile is much maligned, but he was often favoured by coaches of the national team for most of the decade.

    He started every game in the nation’s Afcon win, which certainly goes down as Nigeria's greatest achievement of the decade, and scored the West Africans’ first in a 4-1 demolition of Mali in the semi-final.

    The left-back featured twice at the 2010 World Cup but unfortunately missed out in 2014 through injury.

    The former Monaco defender was never on the losing side in 18 World Cup qualifiers (13 wins and five draws), and while he didn’t have a swathe of supporters, he represented his nation with pride.

  • John Obi Mikel Nigeria 2018

    Mikel John Obi

    Mikel Obi grew into a talismanic role for Nigeria following the retirement of Yobo and Enyeama, and his selfless nature was second to none.

    Mikel also featured in the nation’s Afcon win, and featured at two World Cups in 2014 and 2018.

    In the former, a man of the match showing against Iran was lauded, while he subsequently led the Super Eagles to the Round of 16, their first appearance in the knockout stage since 1998.

    He didn’t hide during Nigeria’s struggles to qualify for the Afcon following their win in 2013, and was duly rewarded as the nation returned to the continental showpiece at this year’s tournament.

    The former Chelsea man may have endured a frosty relationship with the team’s hierarchy in the previous decade, but, in this current one, he definitely proved his worth.

  • Sunday Mba - Afcon 2013

    Sunday Mba

    Perhaps a sentimental pick, but Mba will forever be in Nigerian football folklore due to the part he played in the Super Eagles claiming their third success on the continent.

    The attacking midfielder scored the winning goal in the Eagles’ 2-1 win over West African rivals 12 minutes from time, before scoring the sole strike in the final against Burkina Faso.

    Incidentally, his career never kicked on despite the team’s success in South Africa, but his showing at the tournament ended nearly two decades of pain for Nigerians.

  • Victor Moses - Nigeria

    Victor Moses

    Moses’ performances from out wide were instrumental in the West African nation's Afcon win...and over the last few years.

    He netted a pair of late, pressure penalties in Nigeria’s must-win final game against Ethiopia which sent the Super Eagles into the quarter-final, albeit as runners-up.

    Stephen Keshi’s charges went on to win the tournament and Moses was named in the XI of the showpiece.

    Under Gernot Rohr, the wideman rose to prominence to become the main attacking outlet for the West Africans, and was pivotal to their straightforward progress to last year’s showpiece in Russia.

    Moses retired after the World Cup, and while it felt like he could have stayed on till this year’s Afcon in Egypt, he was a great servant for the Super Eagles.

  • Ahmed Musa Nigeria Argentina World Cup 2018

    Ahmed Musa

    Musa’s performances for Nigeria are quite peculiar; he has seldom thrived in continental competitions but has been the Super Eagles’ top man at the last two World Cups.

    He netted two really good goals in an unfortunate 3-2 defeat by Argentina in 2014 and repeated the trick against Iceland last year by scoring another fine pair of strikes in a 2-0 win.

    While his brace wasn’t enough to take Rohr’s side through, the 27-year-old has somewhat made himself the nation’s unofficial go-to guy at World Cups in this decade.

  • Emmanuel Emenike - Nigeria

    Emmanuel Emenike

    Four goals in South Africa helped Nigeria on their way to ending a 19-year drought on the continent, and Emenike deservedly made it into the competition’s best XI.

    He was joint top scorer at the showpiece, along with Ghana's Wakaso Mubarak, and might have had the award to himself had a thigh injury not ruled him out of the final.

    Emenike fell out with the hierarchy in the ensuing years, but his performances at that showpiece were admirable.

  • Odion Ighalo of Nigeria celebrates a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals, 3rd and 4th place match

    Odion Ighalo

    For Ighalo, his turnaround in the green jersey in the months after the World Cup in Russia was somewhat unexpected.

    His goals return was criticised and the vitriol after his gilt-edged miss against Argentina in the country’s final group game was beyond embarrassing.

    However, the Shanghai Shenhua forward rose above the abuse to end as the top scorer at the Afcon qualifiers with seven strikes, before following that up with five strikes in Egypt to end as top scorer.

    Ighalo retired after the competition, thus following the adage to quit when the ovation is loudest.