Sports have been greatly followed around the world and Nigerians are not exempted from this trend.
They have been followed by people regardless of their tribes, colors, nationalities, and interests for different reasons.
For some, sports give them joy and help them overcome the daily challenges, this could be said of many Nigerian sports followers.
Others would mention physical benefits in the form of exercises which in turn help them achieve a healthy lifestyle as their reason for following a particular sport.
A few have also said, following sports have been of great financial benefit to them, hence, their reasons for playing casino online, virtual games, or joining a football academy.
While the above-mentioned reasons are true for various reasons why people including Nigerians follow or engage in different sports, in this article we would highlight some of the most followed sports in Nigeria.
Below are the top 5 most followed sports in Nigeria:
The king of sports not just in Nigeria but also throughout the world.
In football or soccer, Nigeria national teams have enjoyed great success at various levels.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria remain the highest-ranked African team with 5th position they achieved in 1994. Also, the Golden Eaglets are still the most successful team at FIFA U-17 tournament.
Hence, an average Nigerian is a huge supporter of the Nigerian national teams and also a big fan of a European club.
In fact, the reception these top leagues get in Nigerian is enormous.
They are Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid fans.
The viewing centers are packed every weekend with Nigerians enjoying their clubs playing in different leagues such as the Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and the likes.
Also, Nigerians usually fill the viewing centers to see their favorite players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and also some Nigerians stars playing in Europe such as Samuel Chukwueze, Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen, etc.
Might not have a particular figure to back this up but without doubt, Football is the most followed sport in Nigeria.
Today, Basketball is the only sport in Nigeria that can rival the reception received by Football.
The Nigeria national teams; (D’Tigress for women and D’Tigers for men) get the huge following from the locals.
D’Tigress the women team led by the likes of Evelyn Akhator and Ezinne Kalu are the current African champions.
While the D’Tigers the men team which boasts of NBA players like Al Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu to name a few are currently the highest-ranked team in Africa.
The influx of professionals playing in the NBA, the history of the league with players like Michael Jordan, Kareem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Steph Curry have influenced Nigerians to also follow the league.
Athletics (Track and Field)
The first-ever gold medal won by Nigeria as a country at the Olympics was won in this sport.
Chioma Ajunwa at the 1996 Olympics won Nigeria’s first gold medal with a jump length of 7.12 meters.
Other names such as Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Francis Obikwelu, Olusoji Fasuba aroused Nigerians interest in this sport.
More recently the feats achieved by Blessing Okagbare, Olusoji Fasuba who is still the fastest African athlete ever with a time of 9.85s have encouraged Nigerians to keep track of the sport.
This is one sport Nigerians are always certain of claiming a medal at any major events.
In this sport, a Nigerian named Segun Toriola was the first-ever winner of gold medal in a Commonwealth Games when Table Tennis was introduced to the tournament in 2002.
Segun Toriola also won a Gold medal in the singles event at every All African Games from 1995 until 2011.
Currently, Africa’s number one player, Aruna Quadri is a Nigerian, he is also the most ranked African player at an Olympics game when he finished in the last eight in 2016 at the Rio Olympics.
A sport that has athletes doing the country proud at the biggest stages would surely have a massive following.
Nojeem Mayegun, Samuel Okon Peter, Bash Ali, and Anhtony Oluwafemi Joshua are a few popular Nigerian names with this sport.
While Samuel Okon Peter was the first Nigerian and African heavyweight champion, and Anthony Joshua a two-time unified heavyweight champion.
Nojeem Mayegun was the first to put Nigeria on the map in boxing when he won the country’s first-ever Olympics medal.
Mayegun at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan won a bronze medal in the men’s Light Middleweight category.
His feat at the Olympics, Samuel Peter Heavyweight success and names such as Mohamed Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, The Klitschko brothers, Tyson Fury, Deonter WIlder have increased Nigerian interest in the sport.