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Nigeria’s Most Successful Clubs in the African Champions League 

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Nigeria's most successful football clubs in the African Champions League
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Nigeria’s Premier Football League (NPFL), the highest football league system in the country, has its own share of talented teams and skilled players. Some of Nigeria’s most successful clubs have also become celebrated continental football giants. Even within the limited resources of these teams, these clubs are still making the country proud.

 

Let’s take a dive into Nigeria’s football history to highlight the top 5 Nigeria’s most successful clubs.

Enyimba International

Since its inception in 1976, Enyimba international club has emerged winner of coveted local and African football league championships. Enyimba is undoubtedly at the very top of Nigeria’s most successful clubs. The club’s winning streak was officially ignited in 1993, after winning the Nigerian National League (Second Division) football championships. 

From that time till now, there has been no turning back for the Aba, Abia State based club. Enyimba International has won two CAF Champions League titles, nine NPFL championships, and four Nigerian Federation Cups since 2001. Their most recent win at the NPFL league took place in the 2022–23 season.

A full list of the club’s local and continental championships are presented below.

Local/National Wins

  • Nigerian National League (NNL) Second Division Football Championships: Won in 1993
  • Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Championships: Won in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009–10, 2015, 2019, & 2023
  • Nigerian FA Cup Championships: Won in  2005, 2009, 2013, & 2014
  • Nigerian Super Cup: Won in 2001, 2003, 2010, & 2013

Continental

  • CAF Champions League: Won in 2003 & 2004
  • CAF Super Cup: Won in  2004 & 2005
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Rangers International

Enugu-based Rangers FC was established in 1970. It is one of the three oldest Nigerian clubs; and is reputed to be that one club that has never been relegated from the Nigerian Premier League. You can call the team a choice member of Nigeria’s most successful clubs in the African Champions League. 

Though the club never won a CAF Champions League title, they have enjoyed relative success in local football tournaments. We present a list of the team’s championship victories over the years below: 

Local/National

  • Nigeria Premier Football League: Won in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1984, & 2016
  • Nigerian FA Cup: Won in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1983, & 2018
  • Nigerian Super Cup: Won in 2004

Continental

  • African Cup of Champions Club: Runners-up in 1975
  • African Cup Winners’ Cup: Won in 1977

Shooting Stars Sports Club

Shooting Stars football club (nicknamed Oluyole Warriors or 3SC), based in Ibadan, Oyo State, was founded in 1972. It is one of the three oldest football clubs in Nigeria, and far the most followed team in terms of fanbase. Shooting Stars was also one of the founders of the Nigerian Premier League in 1972. 

The famous club has experienced a change of name twice – from WNDC Ibadan, to IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan. They also choose to play their home matches at the Lekan Salami Stadium.

It is on record that Shooting Stars.was the first Nigerian football club to win the Nigerian FA Cup in 1971. The club also won the very first edition of CAF Cup, and the African Cup Winners Cup in 1976.

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The club is fortunate to have had some of the best international football players Nigeria has ever produced. They include Segun Odegbami, Rashidi Yekini, Jossy Lad, Amusa Adisa, Niyi Akande, Taiwo Ogunjobi, Mutiu Adepoju, and Mudashiru Lawal, amongst others. 

Here below is a list of 3SC’s major wins and trophies over the years:

Local/National

  • Nigerian Premier Football League: Won in 1976, 1980, 1983, 1995, & 1998
  • Nigerian FA Cup: Won in  1959, 1961, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1979, & 1995
  • African Cup of Champions: Runners-up in 1984, 1996
  • CAF Cup: Won in 1992
  • African Cup Winners’ Cup: Won in 1976
  • West African Club Championship: Won in 1998

Heartland FC

Founded in Owerri, Imo State in 1976, Heartland FC was originally named Spartans FC, then changed to Iwuanyanwu Nationale (1985 to 2006). When the Imo state government bought it, the club finally adopted the name ‘Heartland FC’. 

Heartland FC is one of the most successful football clubs in the Nigerian Premier League. They normally play their home games at Dan Anyiam Stadium.

Heartland FC (nicknamed Naze Millionaires) has been successful in a good number of national football championships, though it.never won an African title. The club’s list of wins are stated below.

  • Nigerian Premier Football League: Won in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993.
  • Nigeria National League: Won in 2023
  • Nigerian FA Cup: Won in 1988, 2011, 2012.
  • Nigerian Super Cup: Won in 2011, 2012.

The club was relegated to the Second division (NNL) at the end of the 2021-22 football season. 

Kano Pillars FC 

Based in Kano, northern Nigeria, Kano Pillars was founded in 1990. The club is hugely popular in Northern Nigeria. The club has not won any African title in its history. But it has been successful at the national level – especially around the 2010s. 

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Below is a list of Kano Pillars’ club victories in the Nigerian Premier League to date: 

  • Nigerian Premier League Champions: Won in 2007–08, 2011–12, 2013, 2014.
  • Nigerian Premier League: Runners-up in 2009–10.
  • Nigerian FA Cup: Won in 2019, & 1953
  • Nigerian FA Cup: Runners-up in 1991, & 2018.
  • Nigerian Super Cup: Won in  2008.

They were relegated to Second Division (NNL) at the end of the 2921/22 season. 

 

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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.