Top Five: Nigerian clubs of the decade

Goal profiles the best performing clubs in West Africa’s biggest football nation over the last 10 years

  1. Akwa United

    #5 Akwa United

    At the start of the decade, the Promise Keepers were newbies in the Nigerian top flight and, as such, didn’t have things all their way, getting relegated after two seasons.

    Since returning in 2011, the Uyo-based outfit have been on a steady rise, and are now NPFL title contenders having finished fourth and second in 2017 and 2018 respectively, as well as finishing top of Group A in the 2019 abridged Nigeria Professional Football League format.

    There were also the Federation Cup success in 2015 and 2017, which gave them berths in the Caf Confederation Cup.

  2. Enugu Rangers

    #4 Enugu Rangers

    The Flying Antelopes were the dominant force in Nigeria football in the 1970s and 1980s with 13 titles to their name, including the 1977 Africa Cup Winners Cup (now Caf Confederation Cup).

    They had gone on a barren trophy spell since 1984, and it looked like it would continue until the 32-year jinx was broken in 2016 thanks to the mastermind of Imama Amapakabo and a crop of talented players like Chisom Egbuchulam, Osas Okoro, Christian Madu and Obinna Nwobodo.

    Rangers then added another cup success in 2018 in an electrifying final against Kano Pillars in Asaba which needed to be decided on penalties with the game levelled 3-3 at full-time.

  3. Kano Pillars

    #3 Kano Pillars

    Sai Masu Gida are, without doubt, one of the star sides over the past decade, having won four league titles between 2008 and 2014, as well as a cup triumph, for the first time in 28 years, in 2019.

    They have also featured in the Caf Champions League six times, more than any other Nigerian club since their debut in 2009, going all the way to the semi-finals at the first time of asking.

    All of these elements have made the Groundnut Pyramid City outfit one of the most feared teams in the NPFL, with their home ground, the Sanni Abacha Stadium, regarded as one of the most demanding stadia to play in the country.

  4. MFM FC

    #2 MFM FC

    A decade ago, the Olukoya Boys were still competing in the lower tiers of Nigerian football.

    Little did many know that their time to shine was coming soon, and they made their top flight debut in 2016, not just avoiding relegation but demonstrating a scintillating and unexpected brand of football under Fidelis Ilechukwu.

    In the following year, the Agege Stadium outfit finished a close second, four points behind eventual champions Plateau United, and went on to play in the Champions League and Confederation Cup.

    Their rise has been the stuff of dreams, and MFM’s reputation as the highest-ranked Lagos-based team in the country keeps increasing.

  5. Enyimba

    #1 Enyimba

    Who better than the People’s Elephant to top our list!?

    Their 12 titles in the first five years (inclusive of the historic back-to-back Champions League titles of 2003 and 2004) of the millennium have been supplemented by a further eight in the last decade, which includes three league (most recently 2019) and cup triumphs.

    The Aba giants have shown why they set the standard for Nigerian clubs, and it will be a massive feat for any another side to match or surpass all they’ve accomplished.