The 2019 African Cup of Nations held in Egypt ended on Friday 19 of July with Algeria lifting the trophy for the 2nd time in their history.
However, over the course of four weeks, fifty two matches were played with 102 goals scored in totals totalling an average of 1.96 goals per game.
At the end of the competition, Algerian Midfielder Ismael Bannecer ended the competition as the competition’s best player while Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo scored five goals to become the competition’ s highest goalscorer equalling the highest scored by any Nigerian player at a single edition.
His feat becomes the fifth time in the history of the competition that a Nigerian will go home with the goalscorers gong and although the striker has now called it time with the national team, we in this write up compare how the Ex-Watford strikers fares in comparison to other Nigerians highest goalscorers in the AFCON history.
1) Segun Odegbami – 6 goals
Year: Ghana 1978 (3), Nigeria 1980(3)
The Mathematical on two different occasions managed to finish as one of the highest goalscorers in the competition. In each occasion he scored three goals recording 6 across the two tournaments.
The first time was in 1978 when rivals Ghana hosted the competition. Odegbami netted three times in the competition where Nigeria finished third having lost to Uganda in the semi finals while they were awarded the bronze after opponents Tunisia walked off in extra time while the score was level at 1-1 to protest the officiating.
However, Odegbami shared the highest goalscorer gongs with two other players in Ghana with Ghana’s Opoku Afriyie and Uganda’s Philip Omondi scored 3 each as well.
Meanwhile, in 1980 Odegbami was instrumental as Nigeria hosted and won the AFCON in 1980. Once again, Odegbami scored three goals and once again shared the Golden boot withe Morocco’s Khalid Nabied.
However, it needs to be stated though Odegbami achieved these feats when the AFCON was still in it’s 8-teams format.
2) Rashidi Yekini – 9goals
Algeria 1992 (4), Tunisia 1994 (5)
Nigeria’s all time record goalscorer, late Rashidi Yekini top scored the AFCON on two different occasions and just like Odegbami, he did so consecutively.
The first was in 1992 when the eagles finished third in the competition while he top-scored in the 1994 edition where the super eagles lifted the trophy for the second yime.
Meanwhile, unlike Segun Odegbami who shared the Golden boot on both occasions, Yekini was the sole receiver of the award having finished with more goals than any other challenger.
3) Julius Aghahowa – 3 goals
Aghahowa will be remembered for one thing, his trademark summersault after every goal at the 2002 World Cup and Nation’s cup. However, this is not to say the striker won’t be remembered for his goalscoring abilities.
He top scored the 2002 Nation’s Cup where the super eagles finished third once again, although he shared the award with two Cameroonians, Salomon Olembe and Patrick Mboma who both scored 3 as well. Aghahowa’s exploits at the Nation’s Cup earned him a spot at the 2002 FIFA world cup in Korea/Japan.
4) Jay Jay Okocha – 4 goals
Austin Okocha was pivotal as Nigeria finished third once again in the AFCON. The midfielder who had a sensational tournament also went home with the Golden Ball award at the edition won by the hosts.
His spectacular free kick in the quarter final against arch rivals Cameroon was the pick of the four goals he scored at the tournament. Although, he shared the record with four other players who finished four goals as well. Cameroon’s Patrick Mboma, Tunisia’s Dos Santos, Mali’s Fredrick Kanoute and Morocco’s Youssef Mokhtari also notched four goals in the tournament.
5) Emmanuel Emenike – 4 goals
South Africa 2013
After long years of wait and third place finishes, the super eagles were able to lift the trophy for the 3rd time in 2013. The Eagles led by Stephen Keshi got a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso courtesy of Sunday Mbastrike.
However, Emmanuel Emenike had led the Nigerians through a rough group stage ride scoring four times for the Super Eagles. Albeit,he too had to share the award with Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso who scored four as well.