A study by research outfit, CIES Football Observatory, has revealed that Nigeria is the fifth highest exporter of football talents in the world and the biggest in Africa.
The report, the eight in the CIES Football Observatory’s monthly report, which focuses on international migration in football, reveals that Nigeria’s figure of 596 players scattered in leagues across the world, is only lower to biggest exporter, Brazil (1,784), Argentina (929), France (758) and Serbia (607).
The analysis includes a record number of 6,135 clubs and 458 leagues of 183 countries worldwide.
While Brazil is the most represented origin among foreigners both in Europe (1,137 players) and in Asia (437 players), Argentina is the main exporting country at Latin American level (511 players compared to only 124 Brazilians).
The CIES Football Observatory report entitled “Exporting countries in world football” provide an overview of migration of footballers around the world.
It said the data set was not precisely defined but included “6,135 clubs and 458 leagues of 183 countries.”
“18,660 foreign players of 194 origins,” representing 13 per cent of the total number of players included in the analysis, have been identified.
On regional basis, Brazil by far provides the largest foreign contingent in Asia, with Asian clubs tending to favour foreigners from outside the continent, including Africans, who are well represented in the AFC.
While Brazil dominates exports to other parts of the world, Argentina exports the highest number of players to South America, with about 30 per cent of the foreign players in the region’s leagues.
In Europe, Brazil has the largest foreign contingent (8.5 per cent), followed by France and Serbia. But the most foreigners (56.1 per cent) come from other European nations.
The body devotes a section of its report on the U.S., which shows a “marked diversification of international recruitment.
“The further development of football in the United States will, without doubt, be accompanied by an increase in transfers on a worldwide level. In the race for new talent, US teams will progressively become tougher rivals for European, Asian and South American clubs.”