Sports History

The Life Of Nigerian Living Legend, Segun Odegbami Alias The Mathematical Footballer

Considered one of the greatest football players to have ever emerge from Nigeria as well as the continent of Africa, Segun Odegbami is unarguably a household name for football lovers around the globe in the early 70s and late 80s.

Patrick Olusegun Odegbami was born on the 27th of August, 1952 in Lagos but grew up in the northern city of Jos, Plateau state. Segun Odegbami began his football career in 1970 at IICC of Ibadan (now Shooting Stars) after he graduated from The Polytechnic of Ibadan where he studied engineering. His educational background coupled with his tactical style of play earned him the nickname “mathematical“.

Segun Odegbami came into the spotlight in 1976 after helping his club, Shooting Stars, win the African Cup Winners’ Cup thus making Shooting Stars the first Nigerian football club to claim a continental title. The 181cm tall right-wing forward was famous for his amazing skills, pace and scoring accuracy. His exploits with his football club earned him an invitation to the Green Eagles where he made his debut on the 16th of October, 1976 against Sierra Leone at the age of 24.

Segun Odegbami and Nigeria's National team
Nigerian national team in the African Cup of Nations. Segun Odegbami squats behind the ball

Coach Otto Gloria enlisted Segun Odegbami into the national team to represent Nigeria at the 1980 Nations Cup which was held in Nigeria. The tournament brought the legendary ‘mathematical’ his fame as he and a group of formidable players like Christian Chukwu, Adokie Amasieamka, Muda Lawal, Felix Owolabi amongst others won the country’s first African Cup of Nations. Segun Odegbami became the joint top scorer in the tournament alongside Khalid Labied of Morroco with 3 goals each. The two goals Odegbami scored against Algeria in the final match of the 1980 African cup of Nations earned him the second position in the African footballer of the year award which was won by Cameron’s Jean-Manga Ougene.

Segun Odegbami captained the Green Eagles at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and also led Nigeria through the African Nations cup qualifiers where they eventually lost to the revenge seeking Algeria in 1982. Segun Odegbami who is famous for his jaw-dropping skills and dazzling sprint on the right wing held the captain band 46 times and scored 23 goals during all i.e he scored an average of 1 goal in every two matches he played while being the captain. Odegbami retired from the national team on the 30th of October, 1982 but continued to play for his club (shooting stars) until 1984 when he brought his illustrious career to an end after losing the finals of African Champion Cup (Champions League) to Zamalek of Egypt.
Segun Odegbami

Segun Odegbami remains one of the finest and greatest footballers that has ever represented Nigeria and Africa, and has since become a sport journalist and commentator after his retirement. In 2015, Segun Odegbami made known to the world his intention of contesting for the seat of FIFA president but eventually withdrew as he could not secure the required backing to make him a contestant. “Among other things, qualification to stand for the FIFA Presidency demands a minimum of five written endorsements from national football federations plus a declaration of a role in the game in two of the past five years.” – Premium Times

Segun Odegbami’s marital life featured more than two women including Jumoke Tejumola, an accountant and ex-athlete, Funmi Iyanda who is a famous talk show host and so on. His children include: Morenike, Stephen, Funmi, Junior, Yemisi and Tolu.

Thanks for reading,


  • Who is Segun Odegbami, Ola Blaq; September 2, 2015, retrieved Jan 9, 2018
  • “Football Legends: Segun Odegbami”. BBC Sport; 12 August 2003; retrieved Jan 8, 2018
  • Odegbami withdraws from FIFA Presidency Race; Premium Times
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (January 12, 2018). The Life Of Nigerian Living Legend, Segun Odegbami Alias The Mathematical Footballer. OldNaija. Retrieved from


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