It is the dream of every footballer (at least in Nigeria) to make it to Europe where his services are better valued. Frankly, aside from the glory, these dreams are inspired by one thing – finances. Meanwhile, would you be surprised to learn that in Nigeria where some players are barely paid over a hundred thousand, a few others are raking millions monthly? In this article, we go across the local football league to bring you a list of the richest footballers based in Nigeria.
Note that this is NOT a list of highest-paid players. Although our valuations take cognizance of all available facts including wages, royalties, transfer fees and valuations from other reputable websites like Forbes and Transfermarkt.
Home-Based Footballers’ Wages in Nigeria
Nigeria may not be one of the best places to be a professional footballer. However, with the League Management Company(LMC)’s monthly minimum wage of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (About US$416) set for a review, Nigerian football can only hope for better days.
Meanwhile, just like in the world’s top leagues, income inequality is very pronounced in the NPFL. Soccerladuma in a 2015 report noted that an average lowly-paid La Liga footballer earns over one hundred and thirty times less than the top players. Of course, it is not surprising to note that this persists worldwide.
According to Article 9:42 of the NPFL framework, clubs are only compelled to pay at least 25 of its registered players for the season the prescribed minimum wage. Hence, where a club registers 30 players, for example, it is at liberty to underpay up to 5 members of its squad.
Richest Nigerian Footballers in the NPFL
- Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars, Value: N200m):
Three-time NPFL winner and captain of the 2019 Aiteo cup champions, Ali leads the pack as Nigeria’s richest footballer. The 33 year-old Attacking Midfielder and Legend of Kano Pillars has spent over a decade at his home club where he earns about a million naira monthly in recent years. Aside football, the father of seven is a businessman.
Ali was involved in a scandal in June 2019 and was banned for 12 matches for inciting the crowd and harassing match officials. ‘Pele’ appealed and was pardoned by the League Management Company after missing five matches. Kano Pillars without Ali failed to score in any of the first four league matches(D2,L2) of the 2019/2020 campaign. Kano Pillars got their first win of the season on his return away at Akwa Starlets.
In a chat with Cafonline, Ali who plans to retire in 2020 revealed he has no plan to return to football in a managerial capacity. He hopes to focus on his businesses.
- Orok Akarandut (Akwa United – N150m):
Born August 1987, Orok Akarandut Nicodemus is the latest established returnee to the Promise Keepers. The Nigeria Premier League 2008/09 highest goal scorer returns to his hometown club after successful stints spanning almost a decade at Tunisia (CS Sfaxien, AS Gabes, Stade Tunisien), U.A.E(Emirates Club) and Bahrain (Al Hidd, East Riffa). He is valued at over 150 Million Naira by Transfermarkt.
- Mfon Udoh (Akwa United N100m):
Akwa United Captain and NPFL highest-paid player makes the second spot. The two-time NPFL(2014,19), and CAF (2016) Top goalscorer returned to his hometown club in 2018 after spending about five years with two-time continental champions, Enyimba FC. The former Enyimba captain received a lush contract with Akwa after the termination of his 5-year contract with the People’s Elephants. Mfon Udoh who receives over 1 Million Naira monthly remains one of the most consistent players in the NPFL. He holds the record for the most goals scored in a single NPFL season ever(23). He is also the only Nigerian player to score over 35 goals in two successive seasons.
- Ikechukwu Vincent Ezenwa (Katsina United, N73m):
Controversial Super Eagles No1 is a household name within the nation’s football circle. The former Enyimba safe hands who plies his trade with the lesser-known Katsina United seems to have gotten to the pinnacle of football the unconventional way. The abrupt retirement of Enyeama and the unfortunate injury to Carl Ikeme led Gernot Rohr to give him a deserved spot at the FIFA World Cup 2018.
- Andrew Abalogu (Enyimba, N70m):
The People’s Elephants’ captain is one of the longest-serving players at the club. The former ABS star was rewarded with an improved 3-year contract by Nigeria’s most successful football club in 2018 after successfully reaching the semi-finals of the CAF Confederations Cup.
- Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba N50m):
Enyimba and Super Eagles Shot-stopper makes it to our list after more than a decade at the highest level of club football in Nigeria. Born in 1990 and known for his humility, Theo is one of the most hardworking players in the league. He has consistently moved from the nadir to feature for the biggest NPFL clubs, as well as getting invitations to the national u23, Super Eagles Teams A and B.
- Godspower Aniefiok (Enugu Rangers N25m):
I once witnessed a scouting session by Aspire at a mini stadium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital many years back. One of the successful youngsters was a bright prospect from Greater Tomorrow Football Academy led by Emmanuel Ntok. Half a decade later, “Tower” indeed lived up to expectation, transforming into one of the most prolific footballers in the country. After some unsuccessful attempts at landing a top European team, Godspower launched his NPFL career with Akwa United. He went on to feature for Kano Pillars, Etoile Du Sahel B of Tunisia and Palanga FC of Lituania.
The NPFL is definitely improving in terms of finance. We hope to have it even bigger in the coming years. The league no doubt has some “big boys” whom we have not listed. Note that this list contains only players with verifiable sources of income and wealth.
It is worthy of note some stars who unfortunately couldn’t make it here. Some of them include 2013 AFCON winner and Rivers United defender, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Heartland’ Christian Pyagbara and a host of others.
This article is not sponsored by any third party. Jainda has not been endorsed by any of the listed individuals. We do not guarantee full accuracy of the facts presented here. Hence, we bear no liability for any decision or action carried out as a result of this post. Note that this article is written for informational purposes only.