Nigerian footballers can be found at every corner of the globe. From the popular English Premier League to the Spanish La Liga, talents from the West African nation have graced and are gracing the major leagues in Europe. Odion Ighalo is currently making history with Manchester United and Lille’s Victor Osimhen is shaping up to be the next big thing.
Building a professional career in football is a sure way out of poverty for most Nigerian footballers. History has shown that these players came from humble backgrounds and their advent into football ends up breaking the hold of poverty on them and their loved ones. However, some players from Nigeria soon became poor again after amassing enough wealth in their careers. Here is a list of Nigerian players that are now broke.
#1. Victor Agali
Agali was one of Super Eagles’ arsenal of talented strikers. The 6ft 4in striker was a journeyman in Europe beginning his career in France and ending it in Greece before moving to China with Jiangsu Sainty in 2010 before retiring. Agali also played for popular names like Marseille and Schalke. Agali did make enough money back in the day a lavish lifestyle and wrong investments have led him into struggles financially.
#2. Wilson Oruma
You may remember Oruma as the man that captained Nigeria to the U-17 FIFA World Cup trophy in 1993. He was also the tournament’s top goalscorer with six goals. Oruma like many Nigerian footballers soon moved to Europe after the tournament where he enjoyed a relatively silent career. Oruma was not a lavish spender but was a victim of scammers and fake oil businessmen. It is reported that he lost a sum of ₦2 billion to the fraudsters.
#3. Taribo West
West was a popular player for Nigeria in the 90s into early 2000s. The center back played for Nigeria at various major tournaments including two the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. Let us not forget that this man also played for the two Milan clubs. His 14-year career outside Nigeria saw brought millions into his bank account but all of that money is gone now due to bad investments. West is currently pastors his church, Shelter in the Storm Ministries.
#4. Chikelue Iloenyosi
Not many definitely remember this guy but Iloenyosi emerged in the golden days of Nigerian football featuring at the 1999 U-17 World Cup. The defender played in Europe for Turkish and Greek club teams. He is also popular for marrying Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke. The marriage was later dissolved as our guy was legally married to another woman in the United States already. Iloenyosi like many Nigerian footballers is also in financial deep waters. He is currently into fashion designing!
#5. Celestine Babayaro
Babayaro is one of the few Nigerian footballers that have had the chance to play for Chelsea. The speedy left-back played for the blues when they were nowhere near being a superpower they are now. He also played for Newcastle before retiring in 2008. Babayaro was declared bankrupt three years after.
#6. Femi Opabunmi
Opabunmi’s case is that of ill-luck. After bursting onto the scene at the 2001 U-17 FIFA World Cup, he went on to play Grasshopper and Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Europe. The winger was forced to retire at the tender age of 21 due to glaucoma which led to total blindness of his right eye. His young career was prematurely terminated and the former Niort man is now broke.
#7. Ifeanyi Udeze
Udeze was the next big thing in Nigeria’s left-back position after Babayaro left the international scene. He spent the bulk of his career in Europe with PAOK in Greece where he played over 100 league games for the club. He also had a loan spell with West Brom in 2003. Udeze’s loss of fortune is due to the popular cankerworm that eats the footballer’s money-gambling. Udeze lost a lot of money in high stake gambling and the days of being rich are now nothing but memories. The left-back now works with a sports radio station in Lagos called Brila FM.
CONCLUSION OF BROKE NIGERIAN FOOTBALLERS
More Nigerian footballers are likely to join this list if they do not take an intentional step towards securing their hard-earned money. One player that has taken such a step is Wilfred Ndidi with the defensive midfielder taking a course on business management at a university in Leicester.