Nigeria has embraced football since its introduction into her land. Ever since, there have been an increasing growth rate in the number of registered football clubs in the Federation. Not everyone is familiar with all the football clubs in Nigeria, but these top 10 should ring a resounding bell. Let’s get to it. Not
10.) Dolphine FC
In 2004–05 the team placed 6th in the Nigerian Premier League. Representing their country in the 2005 CAF Confederation Cup, they reached the finals, losing to Morocco’s FAR Rabat. They play their home games at Liberation Stadium. However, for the 2008 Confederation Cup they played their games at U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
They were relegated from the Nigerian Premier League in 2007 by one point. They however came back to retain the FA Cup over Enugu Rangers. In their run, they twice won by penalties 4–2, including a semi-final triumph over crosstown rivals Sharks before winning the final 3–2 on penalties. They returned to the Premier League after winning their division in 2009.
The club was known until 2001 as Eagle Cement.
9.) Lobi Stars
Lobi Stars Football Club (formerly known as Lobi Bank, BBL Hawks, and Hawks) is a soccer club based in Makurdi, Benue. They play in the Nigerian Premier League. The Stars’ home is the 15,000 seat Aper Aku Stadium. For the 2012 season they played some games at Abuja’s Old Parade Ground after they were denied use of Emmanuel Atongo Stadium, Katsina-Ala or Aper Aku Stadium.
Founded as Hawks of Makurdi in 1981 by the Benue State sports council, the club was renamed Benue Breweries Limited (BBL) Hawks Football club, when the state-owned Breweries acquired the club in 1985. There was another change again when state-owned Lobi Bank acquired the club in 1990 and named it Lobi Bank Football Club.
In 1999, the Nigeria Football League was played in a new format which saw the top four teams squaring up in a knock out Super League at the National Stadium, Surulere. Lobi Stars therefore won the maiden edition of the Nigerian Super League under the managerial acumen of coach Godwin Koko Uwua.Lobi Stars won its first and only FA Cup title in 2003 after beating Sharks Fc of Port Harcourt, In 2005 they reached the finals of the domestic FA Cup where they lost to Enyimba. They finished the 2008–09 season with an official record of 13 wins 10 draws & 15 losses after winning a game on appeal against Enugu Rangers, avoiding the drop by one point. In August 2009, the Benue State government announced the club will be leased to private ownership, ending direct support from the state,that never materialised. Lobi finished 3rd in Glo premier league in 2012 they also reached the Federation Cup final that season but lost to Heartland FC of Owerri.
8.) Kano Pillars
Kano Pillars Football Club is a Nigerian football club based in Kano. They play in the top division in Nigerian football, the Nigerian Premier League. Their home stadium is Sani Abacha Stadium. Kano Pillars FC was founded in 1990, the year in which the professional association football league started in Nigeria. It was an amalgamation of three amateur clubs in Kano State which gave birth to Kano Pillars FC.
Founded in 1990, By Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima former Chairman Nigeria Football Association and former sport commissioner of Kano, from the combination of WRECA FC, Kano Golden Stars and Bank of the North FC, Kano Pillars achieved outstanding success by winning the 2007–08 Nigerian Premier League. Kano Pillars produced players like Abiodun Baruwa who has since played for Swiss, Austrian, Welsh and British Clubs and Sani Kaita who later plays for Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Another Prominent player is Ahmed Garba ‘Yaro Yaro’ who later plays for AB in Denmark and a notable player from Kano Pillars FC is Ahmed Musa who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League after joining from CSKA Moscow. It was registered as a limited liability company with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, and then registered with the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) as a professional football club. The Kano Pillars drew an average home league attendance of 10,000 in the 2016 league season.
They are also nicknamed “Ahly Killers” as they scored 2 magnificent goals in Egypt and drew with Al Ahly Cairo in Egypt 2–2 and 1–1 in Nigeria, so the Ahly Killers went to the Group Stage in the African Champions League on the away goals rule. They made it to the semi-finals before being eliminated against fellow Nigerian team Heartland
7.) Akwa United
Akwa United was founded by the Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Navy Captain Joseph Adeusi in December, 1996. The Government of Akwa Ibom State swiftly bought over the slot of the defunct NITEL Vasco Da Gama of Enugu when its management announced the disbandment of the club late November 1996. They gained promotion to the Nigerian Premier League in 2006 on very questionable grounds. Going into the last game needing a win of 12–0 to beat out Bussdor FC on points and GD, they routed rivals Calabar Rovers 13–0 to gain the slot amid cries of match fixing. In 2007, they were hit with a record $10,000 fine when three people died after a home game with Enyimba. The team was originally banned from playing in Uyo for three years, but on appeal the ban was reduced to one year pending the rebuilding of the ground. They were relegated back to the Pro League Division 1 on the final day of the 2008–09 season by goal differential after Zamfara United won 9–0. Won their first major trophy in November 2015, when they defeated Lobi Stars of Makurdi 2-1 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, to clinch the Federation Cup
6.) Nasarawa United F.C.
Nasarawa United Football Club is a soccer club based in Lafia, Nasarawa. They play in the Nigeria Premier League.
The team was founded in 2003 after the Nasarawa government took over Black Stars FC of Gombe. They joined the Nigerian Premier League in 2004–05. Their stadium, Lafia Township Stadium, has a capacity of some 5,000. The club’s nickname is Solid Miners.
The team went through financial shortfalls in the 2008–09 season that one player described as leaving them on the verge of “starvation”. A 1–1 home draw on March 7 against Niger Tornadoes caused home fans to riot and even follow the Tornadoes to the hotel and attack them there. The team was sent to play in Ibadan for the rest of the season and assured relegation to the Nigeria National League with three games remaining. The resulting debt of 46 million naira (Approx. $300,000) threatened to cancel the team’s 2009–10 season. Midway through the season, the debt was reportedly 58 million naira ($387,000) and the team missed 16 games due to its precarious financial position. They returned to the field April 24 after a five-month suspension was lifted with a 1–0 win over Mighty Jets. They were promoted back to the Premier League in 2012 after winning their division.
5.) FC Ifeanyi Ubah
FC Ifeanyi Ubah came into being from the acquisition of Gabros International Football Club by Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah. The Club was formerly known as IYAYI football club of Benin City before its acquisition by Chief Gabriel Chukwuma and renamed Gabros International Football Club. FC Ifeanyi Ubah has its headquarters at 21 Nnobi Road, Nnewi Anambra state. On the 6th of November 2016 FC IFEANYI UBAH defeated Nasarawa United FC on penalties to clinch a historic Federation Cup at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. Since the split of Anambra State, no football club from the State has ever won the trophy.
4.) Enugu Rangers
They are based in Enugu and play their home games at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. In 2008–09, they played some games in nearby Abakaliki and Nnewi as their stadium was renovated for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Before the season started, Enugu State governor Sullivan Chime paid the backlog of sign-on fees dating to three years ago and all other debts owed the players. In November 2008, Rangers became the first Nigerian club side to be a public company and sell ownership stock. However the deal fell through, and the club began the 2009 season in debt.
3.) Warri Wolves FC
Warri Wolves FC (formerly called NPA FC) is a Nigerian football club formerly run by the Nigeria Port Authority. Prior to 2003 the club was based in Warri, Delta State, but moved to Lagos after promotion to the Nigerian Premier League in 2003.
2.) Plateau United FC
Plateau United Football Club of Jos (usually known as Plateau United) is a Nigerian football (soccer) club. Before 1991, they were known as the JIB Strikers FC.
The name “Plateau United” was the former name of their cross-town rivals Mighty Jets. They were promoted to the Nigeria Premier League for the 2010–11 season by winning on the last day against Mighty Jets, but were relegated back the next year on the last day. They were promoted back to the top league on the last day of the 2015 season.
In 2013, their feeder team was one of four clubs suspended, pending an investigation into their 79–0 victory over Akurba FC. The four clubs were accused of match-fixing in order to advance into the professional league. On 22 July 2013, Plateau Feeders, Akurba FC, Police Machine FC and Bubayaro FC were each banned for 10 years, with the players and officials in each game banned for life.
1.) Enyimba FC
Enyimba International Football Club, or simply Enyimba, is a Nigerian football (soccer) club based in the city of Aba which plays in the Nigerian Premier League. Their name means People’s Elephant in Igbo language and is also the nickname used for the city of Aba. Founded in 1976, the club rose to prominence in the 2000s and is considered the most successful Nigerian football club as they won two African Champions League titles, six Nigerian championships and four Federation Cups since 2001.