Tijani Babangida

Last updated

Tijani Babangida
Personal information
Full name Tijani Babangida
Date of birth (1973-09-25) 25 September 1973 (age 49)
Place of birth Kaduna, Nigeria
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in) [1] [2]
Position(s) Winger
Youth career
Arewa Textiles
1990–1991 Niger Tornadoes
Senior career*
1991–1996 Roda JC 78 (26)
1991–1993VVV-Venlo (loan) 34 (19)
1996–2003 Ajax 77 (20)
2000–2001Gençlerbirliği (loan) 12 (2)
2001–2002Vitesse (loan) 14 (1)
2002–2003Al-Ittihad (loan) 5 (0)
2003–2004 Changchun Yatai 29 (8)
International career
1994–2004 Nigeria 36 (5)
Medal record
Representing Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Men's Football
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1996 Atlanta Team Competition
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Tijani Babangida Loudspeaker.svg pronunciation (born 25 September 1973) is a Nigerian former professional footballer, who played as a winger. Known for his pace, his playing style was sometimes compared to that of Marc Overmars. [3] [1] Babangida spent the majority of his playing career at Ajax. Overall, he played in five countries on three continents. At club level, Babangida spent nine years in Netherlands, playing for VVV-Venlo, Roda JC Ajax, and Vitesse. [4] winning the Eredivisie plus KNVB Cup double with the latter side.


He played over 30 games for his national side, including four at the 1998 World Cup in France. He participated in two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and won the 1996 Olympics with Nigeria. Babangida made his international debut in 1994. He lost his place in the squad right before the 2002 World Cup. After a two-year lay-off from international football, Babangida was recalled to the Nigeria team for the 2004 African Cup of Nations preparations in Tunisia.

Club career

Early career

Babangida was born in Kaduna, Nigeria. In 1991, at the age of 17, he left local club Niger Tornadoes to sign with Dutch Eredivisie side Roda JC, after performing well at the 1991 All-Africa Games. [5] He was loaned out to Roda's league rivals VVV-Venlo until the end of the season. [6] Babangida made a total of six league appearances, scoring three times in the 1991–92 season. [7] Despite Venlo's relegation to Eerste Divisie, [8] Babangida remained at the club for another year.

Babangida received his breakthrough in the 1992–93 season as he scored 16 goals, helping Venlo to achieve promotion to Eredivisie. [7] [9] The following season, Babangida returned to Roda, immediately becoming a first-team regular with the Kerkrade side. Babangida made a total of 29 league appearances for Roda that season, scoring 11 goals. [7]

Babangida spent two more seasons at Roda JC. Babangida's 10 league goals in 1995–96, made him the club's top scorer that season. [10] In 1995, Babangida made his European debut, scoring a goal in the UEFA Cup first-round win over Olimpija Ljubljana, Roda's first European campaign in five years. Roda went on to beat the Slovenian side 5–2 on aggregate, but lost to Benfica in the second round. Solid performances at both international and club level led to interest from Dutch side Ajax, as Louis van Gaal was looking to replace Babangida's compatriot Finidi George, [3] who had recently departed to Real Betis.


Babangida joined Ajax in the summer of 1996 in a long-anticipated €5 million move. [1] He appeared in 29 league games, scoring four goals in his first season with Ajax. [7] Babangida played an important role in Ajax's European campaign, scoring three goals, including one against Auxerre in the group stages, [11] and the winning goal in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League encounter with Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, that put Ajax through to the semi-finals of the competition. [12]

Babangida had a successful second season with the club as he helped Ajax to another Eredivisie title with a 39-point gap over PSV Eindhoven, while his 13 league goals in 26 games made him the club's third top scorer, behind Shota Arveladze and Jari Litmanen. [13] Ajax clinched the second title of the season with a 5–0 victory over PSV in the KNVB Cup final, with the Nigerian scoring the first goal. [1]

Babangida's fortunes started to change towards the end of 1998. Having missed the start of the season with malaria, [14] Babangida gradually lost his starting line-up position as Morten Olsen was looking to improve on the team's inconsistent performances both in the domestic league and in Europe. Babangida started two of his team's opening Champions League games. [1] The European season, however, ended in disappointment as Ajax finished bottom of their group behind Olympiacos, Dinamo Zagreb and Porto. [15] Overall, Babangida appeared in 18 league games for Ajax that season, starting only seven. [1] He didn't feature in the Dutch Cup final where Ajax managed to retain the trophy after beating Fortuna Sittard in the final. [1]

Babangida saw even less playing time after the 1999 season, as he made a mere eight appearances the following year and didn't play a single game in the first half of the 2000–01 season. [7] In an attempt to offload the player, Ajax came to an agreement with the Turkish Süper Lig side Gençlerbirliği, who signed Babangida on a half-year loan deal until the end of the season. [16]

Later career

The spell in Turkey, however, proved to be an unhappy time for Babangida and the Ankara side chose no to pursue their interest in the player once the loan deal expired. [17] Looking for a move away from Netherlands, Babangida came close to signing with AJ Auxerre, but received a last-minute call from Ronald Koeman and agreed to join him at Vitesse instead. [16] Another loan move followed. First team player under Koeman, Babangida subsequently lost his place in the starting line-up, [18] when Ronald Koeman left for Ajax and was replaced by Edward Sturing. [19]

He then signed a six-month loan deal with Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in 2002, joining Bebeto and Titi Camara, but walked out of the team in November after disagreements with José Oscar Bernardi. [20] [21] [22] Looking to resolve the deadlock with Ajax, Babangida returned to Amsterdam to continue negotiating a termination of his contract with the club. [23] On 30 April 2003, three years since Babangida played his last game for the club, it was announced that both sides had come to an agreement and the player's contract was finally terminated. [24]

As a free agent, Babangida underwent a successful trial at Chinese side Tianjin Teda in the summer of 2003. [25] The move, however, was put off due to the outbreak of SARS in China, [26] and Babangida signed with the second-tier side Changchun Yatai shortly after. [27] His four goals in the second part of the season helped his team to the Jia B title and earned him a recall to the national team for their preparations for the 2004 African Cup of Nations. [28] Babangida scored four more goals for Yatai the following season before retiring in 2004. [29]

International career

Babangida received his first call-up to the senior Nigeria national team for a pre-World Cup friendly against Romania in 1994. He then played in a friendly against Georgia, but did not make the final squad for 1994 World Cup. [1]

Babangida's international chances were partly limited due to the fact that he often found himself behind Finidi George in the pecking order. [1] He played an important role in his team's Olympic triumph in Atlanta in 1996, [30] as Nigeria overcame tough resistance from Brazil and Argentina, packed with the likes of Dida, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Hernán Crespo, Claudio López, Ariel Ortega and Diego Simeone among others. [31] [32] [33] Babangida took part in Nigeria's 1998 World Cup campaign, playing a total of 120 minutes as he started one game and came on as a sub in the other three. He scored his team's only goal in the second-round defeat to Denmark. [34] In January 2001, Babangida appeared in an exhibition game at the Yokohama International Stadium (known as the Nissan Stadium nowadays), playing for FIFA XI in a game against the unified team of Japan and South Korea. [35]

Babangida only made his African Nations Cup debut in 2000 as Nigeria withdrew from the 1996 edition in South Africa due to political reasons and missed out on 1998 African Cup of Nations through disqualification. [36] [37] Babangida scored two spectacular goals against South Africa to put Nigeria through to the final against Cameroon, where they drew 2–2, before being narrowly defeated 3–4 on penalties. [38] [39] He appeared in all of his team's five games, starting two. [37]

He then featured in Nigeria's run to the 2002 World Cup finals, scoring two important first-half goals against Ghana on the final day of the 2002 World Cup qualification, helping Nigeria seal the final African region World Cup berth. [40] Babangida played in all of his team's games at the 2002 Nations Cup, but was dropped ahead of the World Cup, alongside several other experienced players like Sunday Oliseh and Finidi George. [41] He was recalled to the national team for the pre-Nations Cup training camp in Faro, Portugal in 2004, but did not make the final squad, making the 2002 Cup of Nations his last major international tournament. [42]

Personal life

Babangida, sometimes nicknamed "TJ", [17] was born into a large family in the city of Kaduna in 1973. He was married to Rabah (now his ex), the sister of Daniel Amokachi's wife. [1] Two of his nine brothers, Ibrahim and Haruna are also footballers. [43] The former spent five years at Volendam, while the latter became the youngest ever player in the history of Spanish football to have a buy-out clause in his contract and the second youngest player to appear for FC Barcelona, when he made his debut in 1998 as a fifteen-year-old. [43] [44] [45] In 1997 Babangida acted in a commercial ad for ABN-AMRO in which he points out his hesitations about a contract of some sort. In 2004, Babangida signed a $2 million contract to bring new footballs to Nigeria. [46] The same year, he opened a shopping mall in Kaduna. [46] Upon retiring from professional football, Babangida has been working as a football agent. [47]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition:Source: [7]
VVV-Venlo (loan) 1991–92 Eredivisie 63
1992–93 Eerste Divisie 2816
Roda 1993–94 Eredivisie2911
1994–95 205
1995–96 2910
Ajax 1996–97 Eredivisie254
1997–98 2613
1998–99 182
1999–2000 81
Gençlerbirliği (loan) 2000–01 Turkish First Football League 122
Vitesse (loan) 2001–02 Eredivisie141
Al-Ittihad (loan) 2002–03 Saudi Premier League 50
Changchun Yatai 2003 Jia-B League 94
2004 League One 204
Career total24976


Appearances and goals by national team and year [7]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Nigeria 199420
Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Babangida goal.
List of international goals scored by Tijani Babangida
128 June 1998 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, FranceFlag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 1–41–4 1998 World Cup
210 February 2000 National Stadium, Lagos, NigeriaFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1–02–0 2000 African Cup of Nations
429 July 2001 Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, NigeriaFlag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 2–03–0 2002 World Cup qualifier


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nwankwo Kanu</span> Nigerian footballer (born 1976)

Nwankwo Kanu(listen) is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a forward. He was a member of the Nigeria national team, and played for Nigerian team Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Dutch side Ajax, Inter Milan of Italy, and English clubs Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patrick Kluivert</span> Dutch association football player and manager (born 1976)

Patrick Stephan Kluivert is a Dutch former football player, coach and sporting director. He played as a striker, most notably for Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands national team. He is currently the manager of Süper Lig club Adana Demirspor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Heitinga</span> Dutch football coach and a former player (born 1983)

John Gilbert Alan "Johnny" Heitinga is a Dutch football coach and a former player who played as a centre back who was of recently manager of AFC Ajax.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ronald Koeman</span> Dutch association football player and manager

Ronald Koeman is a Dutch professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Netherlands national team. Koeman was capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper, although he was equally known for his goalscoring, long-range shooting, and accuracy from free kicks and penalties. Because of his goalscoring, he is considered one of the best attacking center backs of all time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martin Jol</span> Dutch association football player and manager

Maarten Cornelis "Martin" Jol is a Dutch football manager and former midfielder. He played over 400 games during his career which included spells in the Netherlands, Germany, and England, as well as earning three caps with the Dutch national team. He subsequently became a manager and has worked for Roda JC, RKC Waalwijk and AFC Ajax in his homeland, as well as German Bundesliga club Hamburger SV and English Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham and Egypt's Al Ahly.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">André Ooijer</span> Dutch association football player

André Antonius Maria Ooijer is a former Dutch footballer who played as a defender. He played his last professional game for Ajax against Vitesse on 6 May 2012.

Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh is a Nigerian football manager and former player. In his active playing career he played as a defensive midfielder. Physical yet technically gifted, he played for top European clubs including Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. He is widely regarded as one of the best African midfielders of all time.

George Finidi, known as Finidi George, is a Nigerian professional football coach and former player who is currently the head coach of Nigeria Professional Football League club Enyimba F.C. As a player, he played as a right winger.

Garba Lawal is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a left midfielder. In 2014 he became general manager at Kaduna United and left his role in 2015. He is with the technical department of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Haruna Babangidapronunciation is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a winger.

Nikos Machlas is a retired Greek former professional footballer who played as a striker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Bosman</span> Dutch footballer

Johannes "John" Jacobus Bosman is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a striker.

Michael (“Mike”) Edirin Obiku is a retired Nigerian football striker. He is currently coach at Feyenoord Rotterdam's Soccer Schools.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Willy van der Kuijlen</span> Dutch footballer and scout (1946–2021)

Wilhelmus Martinus Leonardus Johannes "Willy" van der Kuijlen was a Dutch football player and a scout for PSV Eindhoven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ahmed Musa</span> Nigerian footballer

Ahmed Musa is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward and left winger for Turkish Süper Lig club Sivasspor and the Nigeria national team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roly Bonevacia</span> Footballer

Rolieny Nonato Luis Bonevacia is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Al Tadhamon in the Kuwait Premier League. He has played international football at youth level for the Netherlands, while at senior level he represents Curaçao, making his first official appearance for them in June 2019.

During the 1994–95 Dutch football season, AFC Ajax competed in the Eredivisie. Ajax won a league-cup double. They won their 25th Dutch title in style, not losing a single match all season and scoring 106 goals. Ajax also won their fourth European Cup, defeating A.C. Milan 1–0 in the final. Ajax also won the Intercontinental Cup, defeating Gremio. This Ajax squad is considered to be one of the best teams in football history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Viktor Fischer</span> Danish footballer (born 1994)

Viktor Gorridsen Fischer is a Danish former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder or winger for clubs such as Ajax and Copenhagen as well as for the Denmark national team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hakim Ziyech</span> Moroccan footballer (born 1993)

Hakim Ziyech is a Moroccan professional footballer who plays as a right winger for Premier League club Chelsea and the Morocco national team. He is nicknamed "The Wizard", a title given to him by his former club Ajax supporters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mohammed Kudus</span> Ghanaian footballer (born 2000)

Mohammed Kudus is a Ghanaian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Eredivisie club Ajax and the Ghana national team.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Tijjani Babangida". NigerianPlayers. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  2. Tijani Babangida at National-Football-Teams.com
  3. 1 2 "Robson poised to sign Porto keeper". The Independent. London. 5 June 1996. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  4. We spraken Tijani Babangida over mooie vrouwen, PES en Louis van Gaal vice.com
  5. "Tijani Babangida". Eagles Profile. Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  6. "Tijani Babangida". 123Football. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Tijani Babangida". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  8. "Netherlands 1991/92". RSSSF . Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  9. "Netherlands 1992/93". RSSSF . Retrieved 22 February 2008.
  10. "Roda JC 1995/96". Voetbal International. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  11. "Football: Fenerbahce stay alive with a late strike". The Independent. London. 21 November 1996. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  12. "Babangida Thrills Ajax". The Independent. London. 20 March 1997. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  13. "Eredivisie history". Eredivisie. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  14. "Nigerian and Ajax striker Babangida has malaria". World Soccer News. 24 July 1998. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  15. "UEFA Champions League 1998–99". RSSSF . Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  16. 1 2 "Babangida optimistic". BBC Sport. BBC. 12 November 2001. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  17. 1 2 "Babangida rules out Ajax return". BBC Sport. 2 April 2002. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  18. "Vitesse Arnhem 2001–02 fixtures". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  19. "Tijani Babandgida". Vitesseplanet. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  20. "Mido's tip sends Tijjani Babangida to Saudis Al-Ittihad". MiddleEastFootball. Archived from the original on 12 October 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  21. "Babangida wants permission to leave Al-Ittihad". MiddleEastFootball. Archived from the original on 27 November 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  22. Lyttleton, Ben (2 February 2003). "Camara hammers the boss". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  23. "Babangida Returns to Ajax". AllAfrica.com. 5 February 2003. Retrieved 26 November 2011.(registration required)
  24. "Ajax en Babangida definitief uit elkaar" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 29 April 2003. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  25. "Chinese First Division Side Likely to Land Babangida". People's Daily. Archived from the original on 25 November 2003. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  26. "Babangida close to China deal". KickOffNigeria. Archived from the original on 6 May 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  27. "Changchun Yatai (2003)". National Football Teams. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  28. "China 2003". RSSSF . Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  29. "China 2004". RSSSF . Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  30. Babalola, Taofeek (30 May 2008). "Holland no threat to Dream Team IV —Babangida". The Nation. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  31. "Nigeria defeats Argentina for gold". USA Today. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  32. "Nigeria – Brazil". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  33. "Nigeria – Argentina". FIFA. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  34. "Top goals". FIFA. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  35. "FIFA XI Matches". RSSSF . Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  36. "History of African Nations cup since 1957". Egypt State Information Service. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  37. 1 2 "African Nations Cup 2000 – Final Tournament Details". RSSSF . Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  38. "Semi–final success unites Nigeria". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 February 2000. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  39. "Cameroon are Kings of Africa". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 February 2000. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  40. Asand, Albert (30 July 2001). "Football: Nigeria win ticket to World Cup". The Independent. London. Retrieved 28 October 2010.[ dead link ]
  41. "Oliseh's Nigerian future uncertain". BBC Sport. 28 March 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  42. "Babangida, Ikedia Hit Camp". Nigerian News Radio. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  43. 1 2 "Haruna Babangida". NigerianPlayers. Archived from the original on 11 December 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  44. "Two debuts to remember". FC Barcelona official website. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  45. "Ibrahim Babangida". Voetbal international. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  46. 1 2 "Babangida Seals $2m Deal". KickOffNigeria. Archived from the original on 26 January 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  47. "Ukrainian club sign Dolphins duo". KickOffNigeria. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2008.