Do Nigeria Have the Best Squad They’ve Ever Had?

Nigeria has a rich history in African football, boasting three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) titles and consistently challenging for continental supremacy. The current generation of Nigerian footballers is brimming with talent, sparking a debate amongst fans: does this squad represent the best the nation has ever produced? 

Let’s delve into the arguments for and against this claim, exploring the strengths of the current crop and comparing them to the legendary teams of the past.


The Case for the Current Generation

The current Nigerian squad boasts a potent mix of experience and youthful energy. In attack, established stars like Victor Osimhen, a prolific goal scorer for Napoli, lead the line with a clinical edge. He’s ably supported by wingers like Samuel Chukwueze who’s known for his electrifying pace and trickery and Kelechi Iheanacho, whose creativity unlocks defences. 


This attacking trio possesses a blend of power, pace, and finesse, posing a significant threat to any opposition. It’s undeniably one of Nigeria’s strongest areas – some would say it is the best attacking setup Nigeria has ever had.

The midfield is marshalled by Wilfred Ndidi, a tireless workhorse who dictates the tempo of the game with his intelligent tackling and distribution. He’s complemented by technically gifted players like Alex Iwobi, who provides a creative spark in the final third. This blend of defensive solidity and attacking creativity makes the Nigerian midfield a force to be reckoned with.

The backline, though less heralded, boasts a good mix of experience and youthful promise. William Troost-Ekong, a seasoned campaigner, anchors the defence with his leadership and composure. Up-and-coming talents like Calvin Bassey – a versatile defender comfortable in multiple positions – offer dynamism and energy at the back.

Overall, the team is incredibly strong. Having a solid attack, midfield, and defence makes a team formidable all over the pitch, and while Nigeria hasn’t seen that much success recently, they are certainly performing better than previous years.

A Legacy of Legends

The conversation about Nigeria’s best squad ever undeniably necessitates acknowledging the brilliance of past teams. The “Golden Generation” of the mid-1990s, featuring icons like Jay-Jay Okocha, a mesmerising playmaker and fan favourite, and Rashidi Yekini (click here to see just how popular Yenkiki used to be on sportsbooks), a goal-scoring phenomenon, etched their names in Nigerian football folklore. 

Their blistering attacking displays and smooth passing propelled Nigeria to their first AFCON title in 1994 and a respectable showing at the 1994 World Cup.

The 2013 AFCON champions also deserve a mention. Led by the tactical prowess of coach Stephen Keshi and inspired performances from midfield powerhouse Mikel Obi and the evergreen Vincent Enyeama in goal, this team embodied resilience and tactical discipline. Their triumph solidified Nigeria’s status as a force to be reckoned with in African football.

Comparing these previous teams to the current line-up, it’s evident that former teams experienced much more success. If you compare the players individually, the current team may have the upper hand. However, does that even matter?

In the end, winning games and tournaments is the true measure of a teams’ prowess, and it seems that former teams brought real victories and put their country on the map.

Beyond Names

While individual talent is crucial, a strong case can be made that the current squad possesses a greater tactical understanding and team cohesion compared to previous generations.  Modern football emphasises pressing, positional play, and a more structured approach.  The current team seems to have embraced this philosophy under coaches like Gernot Rohr and now Jose Peseiro.

Furthermore, the current generation benefits from playing in top European leagues, gaining invaluable experience and exposure to different tactical systems. This collective experience translates into a more cohesive unit on the pitch, where players understand their roles and complement each other’s strengths.

Football as a whole has become more advanced, and if the current team faced off against the team’s of the past, they would likely come out on top.


So, do you think Nigeria currently has the strongest squad they’ve ever had? If so, you share the same opinion as many others. The truth of the matter is that there is no accurate way to compare the Nigerian squad of today to those of the past. There are too many factors at play – the players, the scene, the technology and training methods – the list goes on.

Whatever your opinion may be, there is no doubt that Nigeria currently has a great squad and has huge potential. Only time will tell if anything will come of said potential. See you next time.