There is one thing that Nigerians love, and that is football. Just like Indians are absolutely mad about cricket, Nigerians are absolutely mad about football. A lot of Nigerians pay close attention to the best leagues in the world such as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, or the Bundesliga because there are Nigerians and fellow African players playing in these big leagues. However, they also love local football and will follow the Nigerian Premier League. We will now take a closer look at the top football division in Nigeria.
They Do Like Something Just as Much as Soccer
Before we discuss the Nigerian Premier League, we thought we would take a moment to speak about Nigerians and their love of gambling. When it comes to soccer, Nigerians love to place bets on it almost as much as they enjoy watching it. It has been estimated that around $60 million Nigerians spend about $10 each day betting on sport. When all this is added up over the year, it comes to a hefty figure. Bookies know just how much Nigerians love to bet on football, which is why more and more of them are now adding a Nigerian Premier League market to their football sportsbook.
Nigerian Premier League
The Nigerian Professional Football League, shortened to the NPFL, is Nigeria’s major football league. It was created in 1972 and involves twenty teams from around the country. Each team competes against every other team twice, and the team that has the most points after all the matches have been played will be crowned the Champions. The four teams that finish at the foot of the table are relegated.
The Best Team
Since the league started, there has been nineteen different winners, but Enyimba are the most successful as they have won the trophy eight times, with their most recent win coming in 2019. Ranger International have seven wins, while Heartland F.C. and Shooting Stars have lifted the trophy five times. However, the last time the latter won it was back in 1998, while the former has not won it since 1993. Dolphin have lifted the title three times, while Julius Berger and Bendel Insurance have lifted it two times. All the remaining 11 teams have won the title once.
Best Nigerian Players
Below we are going to have a look at two of the best footballers to come from Nigeria.
He is the most decorated Nigerian footballer, and he has been fortunate enough to play with some of Europe’s best teams. At the start of his career, he played for Ajax and helped them to win the Eredivisie title three times as well as the Champions League title. He then joined Inter Milan and helped them to win the Europa League. His next stop was Arsenal, where he won the English Premier League trophy and the FA Cup. When his time in London was up, he moved south and joined Portsmouth, helping them win the FA Cup in 2007. He played 87 times for his country and even helped them get Gold at the Olympics in 1996.
When it comes to great goalscorers, Yekini is the best to come out of Nigeria. He began his career in Nigeria playing for Shooting Stars, Abilola Babes, and UNTL Kaunam. He then moved to Portugal, where he played for Vitoria Setubal - in just one season he scored an impressive 34 goals in 32 matches. In total, he played 114 matches for the club and he scored 91 goals. During his career he played a total of 253 matches and netted 164 goals. He played 58 times for Nigeria and scored 37 goals.