Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!
NIGERIAN TEAM

World Cup Homepage | View Group Tables | Week 1 | Week 2


Goalkeepers

12-Austin Ejide (Gabros) Born: 8.4.84
Made his debut last year but was surprisingly called up after the African Nations Cup finals earlier this year as first choice for the friendlies against Paraguay and Scotland. There is some doubt about the validity of his date of birth, which makes him a mere 18-years-old.

22-Victor Enyeama (Enyimba) Born: 29.8.82
He and Ejide are the only two players in the squad still based in Nigeria. Enyeama helped his club Enyimba win the Nigerian league title last season but last month they were knocked out in the early stages of the African Champions League. Made his debut against Kenya in a friendly international in early May.

1-Ike Shoronmu (Lucerne) Born: 16.10.67
Missed out on the last World Cup finals after breaking his arm just weeks before the finals in France. Has been Nigeria's first choice for the last two years but was without a club for most of the season after being released by Besiktas of Turkey. Previously played for FC Zurich in Switzerland.

Defenders

13-Rabiu Afolabi (Standard Liege) Born: 18.4.80
Former captain of Nigeria's under-20s, his international career has been stymied by injury in recent years. Played for a brief spell at Napoli in Italy before returning to Belgium for a season in which he further enhanced his reputation. Made his Super Eagles debut in the World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in June 2000.

3-Celestine Babayaro (Chelsea) Born: 29.8.78
Teenage starlet from Kaduna who has been at odds in recent years with Nigerian officials and seen little international action over the last 18 months, playing in just one game at the recent Nations Cup finals in Mali. FA Cup winner with Chelsea in 2000, having joined from Belgium's Anderlecht in 1997.

15-Christopher Justice (Royal Antwerp) Born: 24.12.81
Moved to Europe last summer after making his debut for his country in the World Cup qualifier against Liberia in May. Kept his place in the squad for the Nations Cup finals in Mali, although he had just one outing at the tournament. Is set to move to newly promoted Manchester City in the English premier league next season.

19-Eric Ejiofor (Maccabi Haifa) Born: 21.7.79
Unheralded defender who helped Enyimba win the Nigerian league title last season before moving to Israel. Made his debut in the 2002 African Nations Cup qualifiers and then made the squad for the finals in Mali in January.

5-Isaac Okoronkwo (Shakhtar Donetsk) Born: 1.5.78
Has emerged from the obscurity of eastern Europe to win a place in the Nigerian squad. Played in the UEFA Champions League after Shakhtar signed him from Serif Tiraspol of Moldova. Debut for Nigeria in January 2001 against Zambia in Lagos in a Nations Cup qualifier.

16-Efetobore Sodje (Crewe Alexandra) Born: 5.10.72
London-born journeyman professional in the lower reaches of the English league who has again surprisingly forced his way into the Nigerian squad for a major tournament. He was in the 2000 African Nations Cup finals squad but did not play. A goal against Ireland in mid-May made sure of his trip to the World Cup finals.

14-Ifeanyi Udeze (PAOK Salonika) Born: 21.7.80
Forced his way into the Nigerian starting line-up after his debut for the national team against Zambia in January 2001. A product of the Nigerian under-17 side, who moved to Kavala in Greece in 1997 and then PAOK. He was the subject of some controversy last year with officials and team mates branding him "arrogant".

6-Taribo West (Kaiserslautern) Born: 26.3.74 0.
Charismatic defender best known for his colourful hairstyles. Moved to Germany last November after a successful season with Derby County in England but was released by Kaiserslautern in April for disciplinary reasons and told to find a new club next season. Previously at AJ Auxerre, Inter Milan and AC Milan. A member of the Nigerian under-23 team that won Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996. Made his senior team debut two years earlier in a friendly at Sweden.

2-Joseph Yobo (Olympique Marseille) Born: 6.9.80.
Signed in the off-season by Marseille from the Belgian club Standard Liege. A member of the Nigerian under-20s at the 1999 world championships, which the west African country hosted. Made his debut for the Super Eagles last March in Zambia and played in several vital World Cup qualifiers.

Midfielders

8-Mutiu Adepoju (Salamanca) Born: 22.12.70
Forced his own way back into the squad, arriving unannounced ahead of the friendly against Scotland in Aberdeen in April and persuading officials to let him train with the team. Did enough to win his place and is now set to compete in his third successive World Cup finals.

18-Benedict Akwuegbu (Shenyang Haishi) Born: 3.11.1974
Dropped from the Nations Cup squad which went to Mali in January despite scoring the day before the final cut was made in a friendly against the Ivory Coast. Since restored to the team for the World Cup finals. Made his debut for Nigeria at the 2000 Nations Cup finals where the Super Eagles finished runners-up.

7-Pius Ikedia (Ajax Amsterdam) Born: 11.7.80
Product of Nigeria's under-20 side and also played in the under-23 team at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Ajax signed him in July 1999 from the ASEC Abidjan academy in the Ivory Coast and have sought since to protect him from too many call-ups for national duty.

11-Garba Lawal (Roda JC Kerkrade) Born: 22.5.74
Scored against Spain in the last World Cup finals and has been a consistent squad member for the last five years despite indifferent form with his Dutch club. Bought from Tunisian side Esperance, where he gained extensive experience in international competition. Played at the last two African Nations Cup finals.

20-James Obiorah (Lokomotiv Moscow) Born: 24.8.78
Former teenage prodigy who played at Anderlecht in Belgium before his star faded. Last season restored some of his credibility for Lokomotiv Moscow in the European Champions League. Scored for Nigerian in only his second appearance against Jamaica in London on May 18.

10-Jay Jay Okocha (Paris St Germain) Born: 14.8.73
The pivot of the Nigerian side whose own mercurial form accurately reflects the high and lows of the Super Eagles' performances too. Africa's most expensive player when he moved to Paris from Fenerbahce, having first come to prominence at Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany. Has taken over as captain from Sunday Oliseh.

23-Femi Opabunmi (Shooting Stars Ibadan) Born 3.3.85
Scored on debut in May against Kenya and goes to the World Cup just three months after his 17th birthday. Has yet to play any senior club footballer although Swiss club Grasshoppers signed him for next season in April and could be sitting on a future sensation. Last summer was playing in the world under-17 championships in Trinidad.

Forwards
17-Julius Aghahowa (Shakhtar Donetsk) Born: 12.2.82

Earned widespread popularity for his goalscoring feats plus the extravagant cartwheel celebrations that follow. Has been averaging more than a goal every other game for the Super Eagles, including three at the Nations Cup finals in Mali. Recently valued at 7-million pounds by his Ukrainian club and speculation is mounting about a possible move to England.

4-Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal) Born: 1.8.76
Triumphant for Nigeria in the 1996 Olympic Games but has not been able to reproduce his club form at international level since and last scored for Nigeria in May last year. Twice winner of the African Footballer of the Year title and won the European Cup with Ajax Amsterdam. Overcame a heart condition while at Inter Milan which threatened to end his career

9-Bartholomew Ogbeche (Paris St Germain) Born: 1.10.84
Made his French league debut in September and has rapidly risen to the rank of potential African superstar. Among the youngest players at the World Cup finals, having already emerged as a certain starter after four successive games for Nigeria in their World Cup warm-up programme.

21-John Utaka (Al Saad) Born 8.1.82
A prominent figure in the Arab football world after stellar performances at Ismailia of Egypt and now in Qatar. His international caps have been limited to three matches and one game as a substitute in a meaningless qualifier for the 2002 African Nations Cup finals.