The former Reading defender and ex-Nigerian international Sam Sodje claims that his former team mate, Celestine Babayaro is the greatest Nigerian player to have ever played in the English Premier league.
He was full of praises for every Nigerian player who has played in the premier league and disclosed they left long lasting impression in the heart of many English fans due to their brilliant display of skills and talent.
However after looking through the records and making calculations, a total of 42 Nigerians have played in the Premier League which is more than any other African country. The list includes the likes of Austine Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, John Mikel, Joseph yobo, Alex Iwobi, Leon Balogun, kelechi Ihenacho and so on.
On being questioned who for him is the greatest Nigerian to ever play in the premier league, Sodje chose former Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro. Babayaro was signed by Chelsea in April 1997 for a transfer fee of £2.25 million, a club record paid for a teenager at the time. Sodje said the former Chelsea man had huge influence on the league and opened doors for other Nigerians to come into the league.
Here is what he had to say : “You have to give respect to likes of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Efan Ekoku for scoring plenty goals and the players who played more 50 games in the” premier league.”
"So I give respect to Yobo, Mikel, but I won’t lie to the Nigerians who brought influence on premier are Babayaro and Kanu, but I love Babayaro and will say he’s the best.” he told www.brila.net
The Nigerian Celestine Babyaro went on to play 137 league games for the club before his departure for Newcastle United in 2005, where he also made 47 appearances in the premier league.
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