There is a tradition in Nigerian football where players are given sobriquets for one reason or another. Nicknames that simply reveal the true identity of the player. Up9ja presents eight Nigerian footballers with funny nicknames and their origins.
1. Nwankwo Kanu (Papilo)
Kanu is undoubtedly Nigeria’s most famous footballer who has represented the country in several national and international competitions. Some remarkable features on this former Arsenal striker is his wisdom, intelligence and gentleness on the field. It is for these reasons that he was nicknamed “Papilo” by his friends.
2. Austin Okocha (Jay Jay)
Okocha is the most enterprising player in the Super Eagles because of his sense of dribbling, which earned him an ambassador role with FIFA. The name Jay Jay was originally attributed to his brother Emmanuel, a former national team player, but with time, Austin took over that nickname.
3. Stephen Keshi (Big Boss)
So far, Stephen Keshi is the captain with the most incredible leadership qualities. He was named Big Boss by his teammates after his appointment as technical advisor to the team while he was still a player. The late Keshi was even a captain in his clubs in Europe. No wonder he was later selected as the national team coach. He managed to qualify Togo and Nigeria for two respective World Cups.
4. Peter Rufai (Dodo Mayana)
Goalkeeper Peter Rufai was nicknamed Dodo Mayana in reference to the name of a popular dancer of Afro Beat King Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
5. Bright Omokaro (10-10)
Nicknamed 10-10 by the commentators, this nickname originates from an incident that occurred in the semi-final of the 1988 African Cup. The Nigeria team had been reduced to 10 after a red card. When Bright entered the second half, he was instructed by his coach, Manfred Hoener, to tactically release a player from Morocco to restore the balance, as the opposing team had already exhausted its three substitutions. The latter had beautiful and well executed the advice of his coach.
6. Segun Odegbami (Mathematical Odegbami)
Segun Odegbami was so good that his well-calculated speed and dribbling sense were compared to mathematics. He had attracted the attention of several people during the CAN 1980 to the point of being named best player of the competition.
7. Teslim Balogun (Thunder Balogun)He was nicknamed Thunder Balogun thanks to his punching power. According to reports, he broke the hands of two goalkeepers while playing for England and killed another goalkeeper after he hit the ball on his stomach.
8. Daniel Amokachi (Taurau)……