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Liverpool Keeper, Adrian: Finidi George My Best Nigerian Player Ever

Liverpool Keeper, Adrian: Finidi George My Best Nigerian Player Ever

Liverpool Spanish goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel has picked former Super Eagles star winger Finidi George as the best Nigerian Player he has ever seen, Completesports.com reports.

Adrian, as he is simply known, made this known on his verified Twitter handle.

Also Read: Ighalo Nominated For Man United’s March Goal Of The Month Award

The 33-year-old who joined Liverpool in August 2019, also named his best players from other countries.

Zenith Ziva

In Germany he picked legendary goalkeeper Oliver Khan and Gianluigi Buffon for Italy.

Lionel Messi was picked for Argentina, Zinedine Zidane for France and Ronaldo De Lima for Brazil.

Also picked were Steven Gerrard, Eden Hazard and Andrés Iniesta for England, Belgium and Spain respectively.

George made his Super Eagles debut in 1991 had 62 caps and scored six goals before retiring in 2002.

He represented Nigeria at four Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal 1992, Tunisia 1994 (Nigeria emerged champions) Ghana/Nigeria 2000 and Mali 2002.

He was part of the Super Eagles squad to the USA 1994 and France 1998 World Cups.

He scored the Eagles’ first goal, a delightful chip over the keeper, in their 2-0 last group game win against Greece at the 1994 World Cup.

At club level he played for Calabar Rivers, Iwuanyanwu Nationale  (now Heartland) Sharks, Ajax, Real Betis, Mallorca and Ipswich Town.

And at Ajax he won the UEFA Champions League (1995), Dutch league, UEFA Super Cup and the now defunct Intercontinental Cup.

After leaving Ajax in 1996 he was close to signing for Real Madrid but the deal fell through and eventually settled for Betis.

By James Agberebi 

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  • _ Is Finidi Super Eagles best ever winger? _

    In the article above, Liverpool hapless goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel, whose poor clearance contributed his team’s painful defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter finals on March 11, singled out Finidi George as his best Nigerian player.

    Used to be known as the Green Eagles, the national team changed its official name to the Super Eagles in 1988 when the then Vice President Augustus Aikhomu announced this transition upon receiving the team that lost to Cameroon under controversial circumstances to claim the silver medal following the Maroc’88 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.

    It then got me thinking, in the Super Eagles era of the national team – i.e post 1988 – does Finidi Gerge deserve the title of Nigeria’s best winger to date (partly in line with Adrian’s thinking although the Liverpool man refers to him as his best player [which many Super Eagles fans would easily disagree] )?

    Over the past 32 years, Nigeria has produced very many exciting, lightning quick, explosive and dynamic wingers.

    In fact, even at times when we have struggled to produce players to fill certain posts across the pitch, the wings is an area where we seldom struggle to find viable candidates.

    This is partly because many of our forwards (like Aghaowa and Iwobi) who are more renowned for other roles in the Super Eagles could easily pass off as credible widemen.

    So, who is the best?

    Easily, it has to be Finidi George (in my humble opinion).

    Whereas others like Babangida, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Onyekuru, Obinna Nsofor, Pius Ikedia, Samuel Kalu all have the speed of a ferrari, Finidi trumps them all with his vision, technical play, mature approach and crucially, quality of his end product which remained consistent throughout his career.

    One player that came close to Finidi when it comes to poise, panache and purposeful play is John Utaka. But he sort of faded too quickly and also did not always impose himself compellingly in national colours.

    Among Super Eagles wingers, Finidi can also lay claim to the most outlandish goal celebration when he knelt, opened his lap to mimic the sight of a dog urinating after scoring a beauty of a goal with a chip made in heaven to be pulled off by a winger of supreme quality against Greece in the 1994 world cup.

    To have been an active Super Eagles fan during the Finidi George era was indeed a blessing for me because when he turned it on, Finidi always produced masterclass wing play of supreme quality.

    Side Note:

    In this unprecedented period of the Corona Virus epidemic, I implore you all to stay at home, safe safe, pray for yourself, your community and the world at large.

    We will all pull through.

    •  Caveat: for the Super Eagles, yes. But for all Eagles it has to be the mathematical one, the Green Eagle, Segun Odegbami. He was an Eagles winger and a central striker for IICC. 
      A winger that often ended up top scorer for the Green Eagles even over the Central Strikers.

      • Dr. Drey 1 year ago


        Differences in opinions apart, I still respect Uncle Segun as the CR7 that we knew long before this one we know now. 22 or 23 goals in 47 caps for the green eagles as a winger is no child’s play. Only Rashidi Yekini ever scored more goals for Nigeria if i’m not mistaken. Flamboyant, Pacy, Athletic, Gangling, ‘Mathematical’, name it…. 7M simply had it all.

      • Olusegun. B 1 year ago

        Cristiano Ronaldo reminds me of Segun odegbami
        A winger who scores mores goals than an actual no 9
        I would pick odegbami ad the best winger Nigeria ever had .but modern football have helped finidi George .

    • Pompei 1 year ago

      I said it once. I will say it again. Odegbami would have been close to, if not on the same level as Messi and CR7 if he was playing today. A great dribbler, with ball juggling skills, pace, intelligence, and a goal machine to boot. Scored goals for fun with his head and both feet. If the big European clubs had known he existed, they would have fought tooth and nail for his signature. A colossal disappointment that he never played at the world cup. The world would have been stunned.

      Comparing him with Finidi is a bit tricky for me. Because Finidi was a different type of player. Where Odegbami scored truckloads of goals, Finidi was more of an architect, a master of the assist. His crosses are one the best I’ve ever seen. The crosses seem to invite you the striker to attack the ball. A case in point was the 2 crosses he provided for Yekini and Amunike in the 3 nil win against Bulgaria in the 1994 mundial. Those 2 crosses illustrate what Finidi did throughout his career. Strikers loved playing with him, because they know that in a game, he will keep whipping the crosses in. Although he specialized in assists, he also scored some wonderful goals. The top 3 for me are:

      1) The goal against Greece in the 1994 mundial, with the accompanying celebration that Deo mentioned.
      2) The wonder goal against Bayern Munich in the 1995 champions league. He struck the ball with the outside of his right foot into the top corner, to everyone’s delight.
      3) The lefty screamer against Morocco in the 2000 Afcon.

      Odegbami and Finidi were great wingers. These two for me are the best right wingers to come out of Nigeria. Honorable mention to others like Ndubuisi Okosieme, Benji “skill workshop” Nzeakor, and Tijani Babangida .
      Best left wingers from Nigeria – Amuneke, Humphrey Edobor, Friday Elaho, Felix Owolabi, Adokiye Amiesimaka.

      • Dr. Drey 1 year ago

        If only we weren’t unfortunate with Odiye’s rather unfortunate diving header…yea unfortunate appearing twice because that game was one we were in complete control of, missing chance after chance until a harmless cross which was destined for the waiting palms of Emma Okala met the dive of Odiye and left the goalkeeper flat footed in no man’s land.
        And to think Tunisia went on to do relatively well in that 78 world cup even rubs more salt on the injury till this day, because the world would have seen the wonder of 7m on the right, Chief Justice on the left and Muda Lawal’s box to box play in the centre.
        If not many others….those 3 would have been snapped up by clubs in Europe.

  • Pompei 1 year ago

    Note – the above mentioned lists are not exhaustive. Some other players deserve mention, like John Utaka, Osaze Odemwingie, Victor Ikpeba, etc. But the top three wingers (left or right) in my opinion are Odegbami, Finidi and Amunike.

  • Thank you all guys for your contributions. It is heartwarming to see that Uncle Segun is still very much valued and respected for his performances on the pitch (many, many years later) despite his sometimes opaque points of view these days.

    True fans never forget compelling football, despite what comes after.

    It’s a shame he didn’t come to the scene a bit later on, he would undoubtedly have been a major hit in a top European league (with the fame, exposure and fortune that this brings).

    As it is, this generation of Super Eagles fans will have to make do with his views which at times represent an antithesis to what the man radiated as a player.

  • God bless you all that contributed on this thread. It gladens my heart that you people appreciated the green eagles of 1980. Up eagles!!!

  • _Godwin Odiye was Ighalo’s forerunner_

    The infamous (Oh-dear!) Odiye own goal that Dr Drey alluded to above that cost Nigeria qualification for Argentina 1978 World Cup is provided in the clip below.

    With Nigeria in a good position to qualify for the World Cup, Odiye scored an own goal from a Tunisian cross in 61 minutes in National Stadium Surulere to stun the home crowd and make the nation wait for another 16 years before featuring in the global fiesta.

    Although there was nothing like social media at the time, the backlash from fans made the then 21 year old defender ‘hate football’.

    Recalling the incident years later, Odiye said:”We were hard pressed to score a goal when the game was about 15 minutes to end and we went into massive attack with Christian Chukwu overlapping and supporting our midfielders.

    I was the only one behind and I got a pass from Muda Lawal supporting the defence and I immediately passed it on to Sam Ojebode at left-back.

    Ojebode ventured into attack but his cross was headed back to a Tunisian who controlled the ball and raced down the left side position.

    As I was alone with no help coming I took a decision that, if the Tunisian player crossed the ball, I will go for a corner kick header. The player did what I expected from him, but it was a spin, which grazed my head. Meanwhile, goalkeeper (Emmanuel) Okala had come out and the ball was in the net.” he said.

    “What surprised me mostly was the noise from the commentary box. Okonkwo was shouting repeatedly, ‘Nigeria score Nigeria’ and that must have enraged our fans and many Nigerians that were listening on radio.

    I think he did it to get back to me for not signing for Rangers and I was really disappointed. It was not funny after the game as I was smuggled out of the stadium by my friends.” He narrated.

    And while on a bus in Lagos after the match, Odiye recounted: “all the talks were about the game and me and I was called all sorts of name and some even abused my forefathers.

    One man sitting beside me rained curses on me not knowing he was talking to the same Odiye. I did not say a single word.

    Thereafter, I made up my mind that football was not for me. Though I came back to win the Nations Cup in 1980, I knew football wasn’t my thing.” End of quote.

    It must be really hard for these footballers at times. 🙁


  • Collins id 1 year ago

    I think victor moses comes immidiately after odegbami as the greatest winger either right or left. He should be rated above amokachi and the rest. Amokachi is a second striker anyways. Victor moses ahmed musa deserves alot respect if not more than finidi george in terms of super eagles. Moses was great at 2013 nations cup he is part of the reason we won that trophy coming in to distroy ethiopia that was almost sending us home. Great dribbler who also qualified us to the last worldcup with great goals 13 goals in 41 games is greater than finidos 6 goals in more than 70 games. Ahmed musa great winger 15 goals for nigeria already. Nations cup winner aswell 4 goals in the worldcup that is for me greater than finidis achievement for eagles. I think finidis has more reputation in club level. Osaze odewingie also very wonderful winger with 11 superb goals for the eagles but i will place him in the list of strikers. But ahmed and moses deserve more respect from us despite they are players of this generation.

    • Collins, you make valuable points regarding Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa. However, when it comes to all round wing play for the Super Eagles, it has to be Finidi George in the Super Eagles era.

      I say this because I think he won more “critical acclaim” over the course of his Super Eagles career compared to the other two.

      1992, 93, 94,97,98, 2000 and 2001: these years Finidi regularly produce 7/10 rating performances for this Super Eagles in the way he went about his business. He just oozed of quality. Sometimes, it is really difficult to put it into words.

      Goals to games ratio: yes, the other 2 scored more goals but because many wingers scored more goals for England did not mean that they were better than legendary David Beckham in all round wing play and deliveries from the flank.

      Also, how regularly did Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa win “critical acclaim” for their Super Eagles performances. Victor Moses had 2 forgettable World Cups whilst Ahmed Musa can hand on to his (impressive) beautiful goals in 2 world cups as his only claims to fame in Super Eagles colours.

      To be honest, very many of Musa performances for the Super Eagles (outside the world cups) were hits or misses; neither here nor there.

      I like Ahmed Musa a lot but to be honest, the Leicester City flop is not your quintessential wide man (by any stretch of the imagination).

      Also, Finidi predominantly play far out wide in his days whilst Musa and Moses at times played somewhat closer to the box 18 which would explain their higher returns of goals; Moses took and converted many penalties.

      In all, I still think Finidi was the most fabulous winger in the Super Eagles era.

      Thank you sir.

      • Collins id 1 year ago

        @deo Going through your points i have no choice than to humbly agree with you on finidis superiority over moses and ahmed thanks for your reasonable response.

  • Mercy 1 year ago

    I wouldn’t rate Mr odegbemi as I was not preview to watch his game at that time but I had of his exploit in SE color from my uncle, as one of the best player in his era. One man that stood tall among the rest for me is George finidi. He was among the few Nigerian players to walk straight into big European club from nigeria league( sharks fc to ajax). In 1995 he was the best right winger in the world, making the team of the Year. A feat that no other nigeria before or after him had been able to equal.
    Victor Moses, Ahmed musa etc were modern day wingers. Expectedly they are meant to always cut in into the box than the traditional wing play that was seen during finidi, Beckham, figo time which explain why finidi goal ratio per game was low despite his great potential.
    Another mention must go to players like John utaka, chinedu obasi( one player who would’ve written his name as one of African great, if not for injury plague career), odewenge, tijani babagida, nsofor etc.
    The young generation should take a cue from this guys to improve their games.

  • OmoEsan 1 year ago

    Great comments on this thread so far.
    Much respect to Dr Drey, Pompei, Deo et al for taking us down history lane. A true Nigerian soccer fan can’t help but love this forum.

    I was too young to watch Odegbami during his days, but comments from my trusted guys on this forum makes me rate him as one of Nigeria’s greatest soccer players of all time.

    Save for the Odegbami era, Finidi George is the best Nigerian cum African winger I know. He’s arguably one of the best the world has seen play that role.

    Finidi seldom scored goals, but if you’ve seen his goal against Bayern Munich in the 1995 champions league, his goal against Greece in USA ’94, & his goal against Morocco in Yr 2000 AFCON, then you will understand what we enjoyed in his era. Thinking of it that his goal against Algeria in 1993 gave Nigeria her first world cup ticket, we can conclude that he seldom scores but his few goals were not just classy but were very crucial in the scheme of things.

    Finidi’s crosses were out of this world. For an AFRICAN player to have been rated as the BEST crosser of the ball in an era that had the likes of Louis Figo and an upcoming David Beckam is an indicator of Finidi’s ingenuity with crosses.

    I remember a friend’s joke about Finidi’s crosses back in the day, saying this guy’s crosses are so inviting that a striker only needs to touch the ball with any part of his body and he will score. Striker’s never called for the ball with Finidi on the wings, Finidi made the balls call for strikers.Oh yes, Finito’s crosses were that perfect.

    Kudos to Victor Moses, Tijani Babangida, Ahmed Musa et al, but I dare say that Finidi and Odegbami are wingers of a different species. They stand tall amongst Super Eagles wingers and there’s virtually no basis for comparison with the rest.

  • Pompei 1 year ago

    “Finidi’s crosses were out of this world. For an AFRICAN player to have been rated as the BEST crosser of the ball in an era that had the likes of Louis Figo and an upcoming David Beckam is an indicator of Finidi’s ingenuity with crosses”

    Love this comment. Nice one, OmoEsan.

  • Mr Hush 1 year ago

    We have been blessed with great wingers down the lane but Finidi and Odegbami above all.

    Two great players with different style from different school of thought.

    I guess their nicknames is an indicator of their style of play.
    Segun “Mathematical” Odegbami; was more calculating before he makes that move and when he does goes through players with such dribling and enigmatic precision that would make Pythagoras proud of his theory.He us fast thinker and could act base on pure instinct hence his goal ratio.

    George “the gazelle” Finidi was a better sprinter and got great lungs that could hold up for hours. His strength lies with running with the ball and making those pull outs.With his long legs, he was that fast on the touch line that most times when his accurate cross comes in, his strikers are far behind or he would have gotten many more assists than he did; and he did do fantastically well.

    Who is the best amongst both is going to be about personal choice and taste but one thing we would all agree; they were both great..