The adventure of the likes of Stephen Keshi, Etim Esin, Daniel Amokachi, Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Finidi George overseas changed their fortunes from ordinary amateur footballers struggling with daily existence to professional footballers worth millions of naira. Investments of those who play the round leather game already amounts to billions of naira.
Without further ado, here are the top five biggest Nigerian earners in football:
5) YAKUBU AIYEGBENI
Yak as he is popularly called is still widely regarded as the most successful Nigerian footballer to play in England. His a$$ets include a mansion on Manchester Road, London, a duplex in VGC, 2 ma$$ive buildings in Benin city and hotels in Auchi,Edo State. The former Boro man owns a petrol station in Benin City which is run by his brother Momo Aiyegbeni. In his garage back home in Nigeria are a fleet of cars including a Range Rover and a BMW.
4) OBAFEMI MARTINS
He’s been everywhere. The on loan UD Levante of Spain forward has played for top clubs like Inter-Milan of Italy, Newcastle united of England , Birmingham City of England, Vfl Wolfsborg of Germany , Rubin Kazan of Russia and currently Seatle Sounders in the US. Obafemi Martins is the fifth highest paid player in US Major League Soccer for the 2013 season, according to a players’ union release.
He is also the highest ever paid player for Seattle Sounders with an annual basic salary of $1.6million. The 28-year-old striker owns 2 mansions at VGC Lagos worth N500 million, a ma$$ive home in Como, Italy valued at N800 Million, and top hotels in Italy. He splashed N400million on his charity foundation not too long ago. He drives a Lamboghini worth N50m,Porsche Gemballa worth N20m, Bmw X6worth N 18M,and a Ferrarri sport car.
3) JOHN MIKEL OBI
Sources say John Mikel Obi, the Chelsea midfielder is the current highest earning Nigerian footballer. He joined Chelsea in 2006 from Norwegian club Fc Lyn Oslo on a US$25 million. He is currently on US$120,000,(N20m), per week excluding bonuses, and income from participating at the UEFA Champions League.
The 25-year-old Jos born player owns mansions in Jos, Lagos and London worth about N800m. He has shares in top companies, and he recently launched a record label, MATURED MONEY MIND (MMM). He drives a Mercedes G Wagon, Black Mercedes G 500, a Range Rover Sport and a N30Million Bentley Continental. He once said, its very difficult finding a wife. Why won’t it be with all that cash…
Although retired, Kanu popularly known as “Papilo” has made a lot of money in football, after playing for top clubs like Ajax FC, Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Brom, and Pompey Portsmouth. At the last check, King Kanu earned as much as £30,000 weekly at Championship side, Pompey before the club had financial problems. The ex-Nigeria skipper owns a mansion in Opebi area of Lagos State which is valued at about N150 million.
However, one could say his biggest a$$et is the Hardley Apartments located in Victoria Island. It is one of the biggest hotels in Victoria Island and industry sources say the hotel rakes in a profit of over N2 million daily. The hotel and night club cost the former African footballer of the year about N600 million to establish about five years ago.
Kanu is also said to own a photo-shop on Allen Avenue in Lagos state and three other mansions in Park View, Ikoyi. The one time African footballer of the year has also invested in a bottle water company and the Kanu Heart Foundation, a charity organisation where he gives back to the society. His estimated a$$et and cash according to an online magazine is in billions.
1)JAY JAY OKOCHA
And the number one spot goes to Austin Jay Jay Okocha who is one of the very best footballers to come out of Nigeria and indeed the African continent. Okocha has a football career of over 20 years in top teams in Germany, Turkey, England and oil rich Qatar. Having made his mark on the football pitch.