In this article I will be sharing with you 9 Nigerian footballers who went completely broke after so much wealth from football. Few years after hanging their boots, these Nigerian footballers who lived classy and extravagant lifestyle have gone totally broke and bankrupt and could no longer afford to pay their bills.
During their active years as footballers, they earned large sums of foreign currency in various denominations that spanned several years from Europe to Asia to North America and other well developed countries.
They built and bought mansions home and abroad, flew in private jets, wore designer clothes and drove the best cars at the height of their careers. These footballers lavished huge sums of money on their girlfriends, pay bills and even catered for the needs of their families, friends and associates without blinking an eyelid.
However, few years after hanging up their boots, these Nigerian footballers who lived classy lives have gone totally broke and bankrupt and could no longer afford to pay their bills.
You may ask what may have gone wrong with these soccer heroes who wore the green and white jerseys of the Super Eagles for many years. Well, these footballers became broke due to some bad investments, gambling, messy divorces or other unnecessary spending.
While some have luckily recovered from their debts, others still find themselves in the shackles of the monetary system. Most of them probably did not plan very well for life after retirement forgetting that a football career could end almost as soon as it started. So therefore after a careful study and research I present to you 9 Nigerian celebrities who went completely broke after so much wealth from football.
1. Taribo West
Taribo West is perhaps one of the most successful Nigerian centre-back in history. At the height of his career, he was regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe and was a key member of the Inter Milan squad between 1997 and 1999. He was also part of the victorious Olympic gold winning dream team side in 1996. When Taribo West got to Auxerre in France, he was said to have told his coach to sack whoever is playing his position that he has arrived. It was that singular act of confidence that reportedly earned him the contract. Despite featuring for top sides in Europe such as AC Milan and Derby County Taribo West is said to be in financial deep waters as the millions he made during his playing days seems to have been ‘washed away’. He also made a bad investment in his marriage but now can be seen in Lagos trying his hands in winning souls for God, a vocation he undertook towards the end of his career. The only noticeable property left for Taribo West is his huge mansion in Lagos.
2. Mohammed Yusuf
Mohammed Yusuf who was a former Enyimba defender enjoyed a starting eleven position in Supper Eagles when the late Stephen Keshi was the head coach of the Super Eagles and he blossom in the fullback position. He was regarded as one of the best centre back in Europe, Asia and North America. His last known club is Al Hilal of Sudan and this was since 2010. However the great defender suffered a serious injury in the 2010 African Nations Cup and he has been said to be rehabilitating since. There are unconfirmed reports that Mohammed Yusuf is currently based in Kano and he is very broke as he has been abandoned by the authorities. He is now living in abject poverty in the city of Kano with no one to cater for his need.
3. Celestine Babayaro
Celestine Babyaro is unarguably the best-cultured Super Eagles left-back. He was among the Super Eagles squads that won the 1996 Olympics for the country Nigeria. Celestine Babayaro, played for some of the biggest clubs in England and Belgium.
At a time in his career, Celestine Babayaro, was amongst the highest paid African players in the world as he earned between £25,000 and $30,000 per week at Chelsea FC of England. He however declared himself bankrupt at a court in Croydon in 2010 after being charged by creditors. A final confirmation of his insolvency was made known in 2011. The former Newcastle United defender was reported to have lived an expensive lifestyle both in Nigeria and England. Stories abound on how he blew thousands of pounds in buying exotic items and he also partied hard with women. Today Celestine Babayaro is very broke and currently living in abject poverty.
4. Etim Esin
Etim Esin was clearly one of the richest African players in his active days before he ran into trouble in Belgium. He was renowned to have driven two customized cars built to his taste. On visits to Nigeria, from his club in Europe, he retained a permanent suite at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. But when he went bankrupt, one of his customised BMW cars was seized by the hotel as he was unable to pay his bills. Later on, he was seen around national team camps moving from one room to the other after Super Eagles matches, and allegedly requesting for financial assistance from his colleagues. He is gradually coming back to reckoning as he married an African diplomat who he has kept out of public eye. Etim Esin now live quietly in Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria with his family where he is battling with financial problem.
5. Victor Agali
Victor Agali was regarded as one of the best striker in Super Eagles. At that time he formed a formidable striking partnership with Kanu Nwankwo which was fondly dubbed the ‘Twin Towers’. The tall and lanky forward was particularly loved by Super Eagles fans due to his proficiency and exotic skills in goal scoring. His tall physique and his imposing stature saw him lace his boots for top European sides such as Olympique Marseille and Hansa Rostock. However, sources close to the player revealed that the player is not doing too well financially. Apparently, despite earning an average pay of over £25,000 per weekly while in Germany, some failed investments and a clearly lavish lifestyle has seen him scrapping financially. Victor Agali who earned £25,000 per weekly in Europe is now broke and living in abject poverty.
6. Ifeanyi Udeze
Ifeanyi Udeze is another explosive Super Eagles’ left-back who was a key member of the national team between 2000 and 2004 after graduating from the victorious Golden Eaglets. Sadly, fortune took a downward turn for the player as sources close to him revealed that Ifeanyi Udeze is neck deep in debt after squandering the substantial fortune he gained during his playing days on high stake gambling and other luxuries and extravagant lifestyle in Europe. Ifeanyi Udeze who featured for AEK Athens, and West Brom while active in his football career, is also said to have a particular preference for locally manufactured gin and he can also be seen indulging in street gambling with some undesirable elements around the neighborhood he grew up in which is the ghetto area of Ajegunle in Lagos.
7. Chikelue Iloenyosi
Chikelue Iloenyosi is a player for the Super Eagles who achieved little with the senior national team; he however made a career playing football and quite a profitable one. He was part of the national U-20 side that featured in the World Youth Championship in Nigeria in 1999. He also won four caps with the Super Eagles. He is famous for his marriage to Nollywood actress, Stephanie Okereke, a marriage was that was divorced and annulled by a Lagos High Court after it was discovered that he was legally married to another woman in the United States at the time he took Stephanie Okereke to the altar. However, despite featuring for clubs in Turkey, Libya, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Chikelue Iloenyosi is not doing too well financially at present. Sources claim that the defender has delved into fashion designing with a keen interest in men’s clothing. He has also been seen several times giving morale supports to sports project initiated by billionaire club proprietor, Ifeanyi Ubah.
8. Femi Opabunmi
The 33-year-old would be remembered for being a key player at 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship where he scored a hat-trick against Australia and won himself the Silver Shoe as the second highest goal scorer and also the Bronze Ball as third best player in the tournament, helping Nigeria to reach the final where they lost to France. Femi Opabunmi played for Nigeria and made his debut in 2002 against Kenya, scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win. He was a participant at the 2002 FIFA World Cup playing against England in the last group stage match becoming the 3rd youngest player to ever play in the World Cup finals after Norman Whiteside and Samuel Eto’o. He played for a few clubs, including Shooting Stars FC, Grasshoppers Zürich of Switzerland and Chamois Niortais of France. He has since retired from the game after he lost one of his eyes playing football. At the moment, he is based in Ibadan where he relied on the little earnings of his wife to sustain his family. Femi Opabunmi, who survived his last months in Europe through the assistance of former teammate, Peter Osaze Odemwingie is now said to be on a job search.
9. Wilson Oruma
Wilson Oruma who was a former Super Eagles midfielder for six years had mental disorder after being defrauded heavily by a Lagos-based pastor and some fake oil businessmen. Wilson Oruma, who captained Nigeria U-17 team to win the 1993 World Cup in Japan, played for RC Lens, Sochaux Marseille and clubs in Switzerland and Kavala FC in Greece. He made millions in the game and was declared as one of the richest players at that time.
Though as a gifted player, Wilson Oruma lived in the shadows of Austin Jay Jay Okocha in the Super Eagles and was frequently used each time Austin Jay Jay Okocha is out of the game due to some kind of injuries or not eligible for matches. He is presently said to have regained mental stability and has been battling to overcome financial challenges that has befallen him since he retired from football.