It has been more than 12 years since a Nigerian player and indeed a Nigerian Clubside won the CAF Champions League. In fact, since Enyimba’s consecutive triumph on the continent in 2003 and 2004 against Ismaily SC of Egypt and Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia respectively, only Heartland FC of Owerri have managed to grace the final ever since 2009 when they lost to Tp Mazembe on away goals.
However in the final played on November 4 between Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Al Alhy of Egypt, two Nigerians were on each side as they looked to become the first Nigerian in over 12 years to win a CAF Champions League medal.
While Al Ahly had former u23 international Junior Ajayi in their front line, Wydad Casablanca’s Chisom Chikatara wasn’t involved as the Moroccan side went on to win their 2nd Caf champions league title on a 2-1 aggregate, thus making him the fourth Nigerian to win the Caf champions league with a foreign club.
4. Chisom Chikatara – Wydad Casablanca (Morocco ) 2017
Kolanut boy as he is popularly called, has so far endured a torrid 2017 season as he has been on the sidelines for a long period which has made him miss most of the current campaign, however this didn’t stop him from getting a Caf champions league winners medal as Wydad beat Al Ahly of Egypt to the trophy for only the 2nd time in their history and first time in 25 years.
Chikatara gained prominence after he gaining promotion into the NPFL with Abia Warriors in the 2013 and his goalscoring exploits secure his entrance into the 2016 CHAN team where he scored 4 goals despite Nigeria crashing out in the group stages and caught the eyes of his current employers.
3. John Zaki – ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) 1998
John Zaki was highly instrumental in ASEC Mimosa’s champions league triumph, as he made 7 appearances in the 1998 CAF Champions League campaign scoring 4 times including one in the 2nd leg of the final played at the Stade Félix in Abidjan.
2. William Okpara – Orlando Pirates (SA) 1995
Willy Okpara was on the books of the South African club sides for over 15 years as a goalkeeper and he was instrumental as the team went on to win the CAF Champions League in 1995, 2 years after Emmanuel Amunike won it with Zamalek.
Pirates defeated Asec Abidjan on a 3-2 aggregate scoreline with Okpara keeping a clean sheet in the 2nd leg as Pirates ran out 1-0 winners to lift the title for the first time in their history. Okpara was the club’s first choice goalkeeper from 1990 to 2002, losing his place to Congolese goalkeeper Michel Babale during the 2002-03 season, then he retires in 2005.
He holds the record of Pirates’ appearances with 375 matches and is also the club’s longest-serving player. After featuring for the flying eagles in 1987, he later went on to feature for the Super Eagles 5 times
1. Emmanuel Amunike – Zamalek (Egypt) 1993
The former u17 coach was a left winger during his playing days before he moved to Europe with Sporting club of Portugal and later on to FC Barcelona of Spain where he won series of titles, the Ezieobodo born player had turned out for Julius Berger in Nigeria and Zamalek of Egypt in 1991.
He went to Egypt and within three years (1991-1994) he scored 26 goals in 71 games winning the Egyptian League in a consecutive fashion in 1991/92, 1992/93 seasons and then becoming the first Nigerian to win the CAF Champions League in 1993 after Zamalek defeated Asante Kotoko 7-6 on penalties after a 0-0 aggregate
Amunike retired at the age of 33 after series of niggling injuries affected his career, he appeared 27 times for the Super Eagles scoring 9 goals, featuring at the 1994 World Cup and also winning the Gold medal in the 1996 Olympics with the dream team.
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