Top Five Most Successful Football Clubs in Nigeria

Top Five Most Successful Football Clubs in Nigeria

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By Tolulope Shotade

The Nigerian football league system has been in existence for around 50 years, operating under different names in that time. Currently known as the Nigeria Premier Football League, the title is one of the most coveted trophies in the country.

Overtime, several clubs have managed to clinch the sought-after trophy, with a few winning it multiple times. League title success is also a major attraction for bettors with some of the top betting apps listed on comparison site Betting Apps offering huge odds-on eventual champions of the league.

Of course, a number of other teams have also used their NPFL triumph as a springboard for further success on the continent. This is a list of the top five most successful Nigerian football clubs:

·        Enyimba International – 8 league titles

Enyimba FC

Enyimba are widely considered the most successful football club in Nigeria having won major accolades both on the local scene and internationally. Established in 1976, they have won eight league titles in total, the most by any football club in the country.

The Aba based club won their first league title in 2001 and have gone on to win a few more titles over the years. Their most recent triumph came in 2019 where they won the Super Six tournament to emerge champions.

While Enyimba have been recent champions of the NPFL, the early 2000s was their most successful period, winning four titles between 2001 and 2005. They also won two CAF Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004.

In addition to all of this, Enyimba have also won the FA Cup, Nigerian Super Cup, and the CAF Super Cup, among others.

·        Rangers International – 7 league titles

Rangers International FC

One of the oldest football clubs in Nigeria, Rangers International were founded in 1970. In terms of league titles, they are the second most successful football club in Nigeria having lifted the title seven times.

Winning their first title in 1974, Rangers International have enjoyed enduring success over the years. They have remained relevant and influential in the Nigerian football system and won their most recent league title in 2016.

Like Enyimba, Rangers International have also seen success in other domestic competitions. They are six-time winners of the FA Cup, the most recent of which was in 2018 while they also won the Nigerian Super Cup in 2004.

Although they are yet to win the CAF Champions League, Rangers International were one of the first Nigerian teams to enjoy success on the continent. They were runners-up in the African Cup of Champions Clubs in 1975 and also won Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.

·        Shooting Stars SC – 5 league titles

Shooting Stars

Founded in 1972, Shooting Stars are one of the oldest clubs in Nigeria and were among the pioneers of the Nigerian Football League (now Nigerian Professional Football League). They play their home matches at the Lekan Salami Stadium and are one of the most supported teams in Nigeria.

Over the years, Shooting Stars have given their fans plenty to cheer about as they are one of the most decorated teams in Nigeria. They are five-time winners of the Nigerian league, although their last title was in 1998.

Shooting Stars are also the most successful club in the Nigerian FA Cup having lifted the trophy eight times. However, just like in the league, their last title came in 1995.

The Oluyole Warriors have also found success on the continent, winning the CAF Cup, the African Cup winners Cup and West African Club Championship. They are also two-time runners-up in the African Cup of Champions Clubs (now known as the CAF Champions League).

·        Heartland FC – 5 league titles

Heartland FC was founded in 1976 and has undergone numerous name changes over the years. Originally known as Spartans FC, they went by Iwanyanwu Nationale between 1985 and 2006 before settling for Heartland after being bought out by the Imo State government.

Nicknamed the Naze Millionaires, Heartland are one of the most successful Nigerian clubs having won five league titles, with the last one coming in 1993. They are also three-time winners of the FA Cup and have won the Nigerian Super Cup twice.

While Heartland are considered one of the most successful football clubs in Nigeria, they have found trophies difficult to come by in recent times. Their last piece of silverware was the FA Cup title back in 2012.

Beyond the hunt for titles, have struggled to maintain their topflight status in recent years. They have been in and out of the NPFL and are currently playing in the NNL having been relegated at the end of the 2021/22 season.

·        Kano Pillars FC – 4 league titles

Kano Pillars

One of the biggest names in the Nigerian football system, Kano pillars enjoys huge support in the country, particularly in the Northern region. Founded in 1990, they have won the Nigerian football league title four times with their first trophy coming in 2008.

If the early 2000s belonged to Enyimba, then the early 2010s was the era of Kano pillars. They had unprecedented success during this period, winning three league titles in a row between 2012 and 2014.

Kano Pillars also won the Nigerian Super Cup in 2008 and the FA Cup in 2019. However, they are yet to make their mark on the continent with their best performance being a semifinal berth in the 2009 CAF Champions League.

The Sai Masu Gida have found things difficult in recent years and were relegated to the NNL at the end of the 2021/22 season.

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