Champions LeagueForeign Legion

Nigerian Players in the UCL: Can Mikel Obi be replaced on the prestigious winners roll this season

Mikel is the last Nigerian winner of the UEFA Champions League title. Ten years after his win in 2012 with Chelsea , SPORTSRATION looks at Osimhen and other Nigerian players that can achieve UCL success this season and replace Mikel as the last Nigerian winner of the title.


In May 2012 , Mikel Obi helped Chelsea to a maiden UCL title to become the third Nigerian to win the UEFA Champions League . Kanu Nwankwo and Finidi George are the other two Nigerians on this roll .


MUNICH, GERMANY – MAY 19: Toni Kroos of Bayern Muenchen and John Obi Mikel of Chelsea fight for the ball during UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Before Mikel Obi’s UCL win with Chelsea in 2012 , 17 years had passed since Kanu Nwankwo and Finidi George emerged winners of the competition with Ajax in 1995 .


Ten unsuccessful years have gone by for Nigerian players in the UCL . The 2022/2023 UCL begins today , here are the top three Nigerian players on paper that can end this drought with stunning success with their clubs .



The 23 year old Nigerian striker will play in the UEFA Champions League this season with Italian Serie A side Napoli .


Osimhen helped Napoli qualify for the UCL last term , banging 14 goals to secure a 3rd place finish in the Serie A last season .


Osimhen may be unavailable for the clubs opening game vs Liverpool on Wednesday September 7 , but will play a big part if the Partonopei are to achieve continental success this season .


On paper , Napoli are not one of the favourites for the title , but it’s football and anything is possible .


First , Osimhen and his teammates must negotiate their way through Group A that includes Liverpool , Ajax and Glasgow Rangers .


Osimhen will be playing in the Champions League for a second season, the first with Lille produced 2 goals in 5 appearances .



Ajax new boy Calvin Bassey will be playing against familiar faces in his first UEFA Champions League campaign with the Dutch Giants .


A game vs former Glasgow Rangers teammates on Matchday One and the face-off with Super Eagles teammate Victor Osimhen waits in Group A for the left back .


Ajax is one club with a rich history in the UEFA Champions League . Bassey’s compatriots Kanu Nwankwo and Finidi George won the competition in 1995 with the club , a footstep the left back will hope to follow in the 2022/2023 season .


On paper, Ajax and Napoli are expected to battle for the second qualification spot in Group A , with Liverpool tipped to reach the next round in Europe’s premier club competition this term .



FC Porto left back Zaidu Sanusi is the third Nigerian with a fair chance of ending Nigerian players 10 year UCL title win drought .


FC Porto winners of the UEFA Champions League in 2004 will play in Group B which also features Bayer Leverkusen , Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge who will parade Nigerian Midfielder Raphael Onyedika .


Sanusi has enjoyed a positive start to the season at the Portuguese league Champions and will be a prominent figure in their chase for a second UCL title .



Other Nigerian players in this seasons UEFA Champions League are Olawrenwaju Kayode (Shakhtar Donestk) , Paul Makairu and Akinwunmi Amoo (FC Copenhagen) , Nnamdi Oforborh (Glasgow Rangers) , Fortune Bassey and Alao Aloabani ( Viktoria Plzen ) .


There is also  Samsun Tijani who may not have minutes this season for RB Salzburg following his expected lengthy spell on the sideline with Injury .



Based on the Pedigree and quality in the clubs they play, there is a slim chance Nigeria will produce another UCL winner this season .


However, the odds could change in the January transfer window if Nigerian players are able to make the move to some of Europe’s big boys .


Based on current realities , a win for either of Napoli , Ajax , Fc Porto , Rangers , FC Copenhagen , Viktoria Plzen and Shakhtar Donestk will stun bookmarkers and the world of football .


It is Football so nothing is settled on paper , we look forward to yet another another amazing season of top notch footballing action in the UEFA Champions League.

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