Only three Nigerian footballers have 1 million plus followers on social media

Fenerbahce midfielder Victor Moses remains Nigeria’s leading footballer on social media with just three of them having more than a million followers, according to a new report by RESULT Sports.  

The Global Digital Football Benchmark 2019 – Players Edition was released at the end of April with a coverage of the top 275 players worldwide with at least 2.7m followers across the top three platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Moses is the only Nigerian in the top 275 players in the world (No. 232) with a total of 3,341,470 followers across the digital platforms while Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list with 363million followers.

RESULT Sports agreed to provide me with an exclusive top 10 list of Nigerian players on social media for this article, players who ordinarily did not make the Global Benchmark.

For a country with a population the size of Nigeria’s, it always amazes how we have not been able to translate the growth in access to broadband data to social media following compared with Egyptians who have a huge presence online.

Moses is followed in second place by Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and John Obi MIkel of Middlesbrough with 2.2m and 1.2m total followers respectively. The trio is the only ones that have at least a million followers across the major platforms.

The rest of the top 10 includes Ahmed Musa (754,139), Kelechi Iheanacho (708,138), Wilfred Ndidi (581,597), Obafemi Martins (532,592), Henry Onyekuru (441,687), Kenneth Omeruo (418,599) and Ogenyi Onazi (361,686).

NIGERIA # AFRICA OVERALL Player Country Club Digital Community Facebook Instagram Twitter
1 22 Victor Moses Nigeria Fenerbahçe 3,341,470 1,331,308 824,749 1,185,413
2 38 Alex Iwobi Nigeria Arsenal 2,216,853 187,551 1,324,720 704,582
3 57 John Obi Mikel Nigeria Middlesbrough 1,279,438 316,799 783,877 178,762
4 73 Ahmed Musa Nigeria Al Nassr 754,139 5,393 555,679 193,067
5 74 Kelechi Iheanacho Nigeria Leicester City 708,138 15,781 488,674 203,683
6 83 Wilfred Ndidi Nigeria Leicester City 581,597 3,633 502,061 75,903
7 87 Obafemi Martins Nigeria Shanghai Shenhua 523,592 3,021 454,455 66,116
8 93 Henry Onyekuru Nigeria Galatasaray 441,687 9,822 367,012 64,853
9 96 Kenneth Omeruo Nigeria CD Leganes 418,599 17,484 392,574 8,541
10 122 Onazi Ogenyi Eddy Nigeria Trabzonspor 361,686 9,128 222,220 130,338

One pattern that I quickly observed from their platform numbers is the prevalence of Instagram as a place for higher growth and engagement for the players. Apart from Moses whose Facebook and Twitter numbers are higher than his Instagram’s, all other players on the Top 10 list have Instagram as the platform for the highest number of followers.

According to Mario Leo, founder of RESULT Sports, there are a few reasons why Instagram is seeing faster growth as a social media platform. “From a players perspective, the app is easier to use and fun to use. From an audience perspective it’s all mobile and easy to reach, easy to engage while from a technology point of view, there are no algorithms on organic reach or growth. So more people see and have access automatically to content,” Leo said.

The rankings of some retired Nigerian footballers were also provided with Nwankwo Kanu leading with 281,182 followers. He is followed by Sunday Oliseh (239,663), Daniel Amokachi (224,530), Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha (206, 967) and Joseph Yobo (104,670).


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