On Tuesday, the popular social media platform, Twitter, was buzzing with discussions about former Nigerian international Obafemi Martins and music star Burna Boy.
It all started after Nigerian rapper CDQ accused the self-acclaimed African giant of disrespecting the former Inter Milan striker.
And this created an argument between fans of both parties, with one section claiming their favourite star is more popular and richer than the other.
One of the views raised by Burna Boy fans is that Martins time with the national team was underwhelming, and he never had his moments.
While these arguments are standard on social media, it would be wrong to say Martins was not a brilliant player for Nigeria.
In Nigeria? Martins was nowhere near Aghahowa and Osaze w.r.t popularity and recognition. You’ll probably be able to call another 5-10 players post-2000.
Only if we are talking about popularity beyond Nigeria will the opposite be true.
— s. (@Cerebrone) March 2, 2021
: Burna Boy didn't sell out Wembley Arena for you people to be comparing him to a player that didn't even have a peak.
Obafemi Martins yunno.
— Fontaine. (@TheAlchemist___) March 2, 2021
: Martins was getting shipped round the world because he was a fucking bum but you guys talking like it was because he was an in demand star.
— Fontaine. (@TheAlchemist___) March 2, 2021
The Super Eagles have had great strikers like Rashidi Yekini, Kanu Nwankwo, Julius Aghahowa and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, and it would not be out of place to say Martins is up there with them.
Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup may have affected people’s views about him. Still, for the few years he played for Nigeria, the man dubbed the ‘weapon of mass destruction’ was everything he could be for the Super Eagles.
And in light of this, Soccernet looks at some of Martins top moments in a Super Eagles shirt.
Nigeria vs Ireland (2004)
There’s no better game to start than his debut for Nigeria. Nigeria played the Republic of Ireland in a Unity Cup clash played at the home of Charlton Athletic.
Martins had been making waves with Inter Milan before this game, but there were doubts if he was interested in playing for the three-time African champions.
However, all doubts were laid to rest when he turned out for the team on that Saturday afternoon. It was arguably the biggest debut from a Nigerian player in the last two decades.
The Super Eagles won 3-0 that afternoon, with Bartholomew Ogbeche scoring twice. However, it was Martins performance that made the headlines.
After Bartholomew Ogbeche had given Nigeria the lead just before half-time, Martins announced himself to the international scene by doubling Nigeria’s advantage.
His goal was a brilliant solo effort, which saw him took on a couple of defenders before poking past Nick Colgan in Ireland’s goal.
Aside from his goal, the former Newcastle man was unplayable throughout, with the Irish defence unable to cope with his strength and speed.
The brilliance of that goal strengthened his reputation as a dangerous marksman. After the clash, the general view back in Nigeria is that the team has finally found a replacement for Rashidi Yekini.
Nigeria vs Rwanda (2004 World Cup Qualifier)
Fans did not have to wait for a long time before seeing the brilliance of Martins again. After winning the Unity Cup, the Nigerian team returned home to start their qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup.
The first game was a clash against minnows Rwanda at the Abuja National team stadium. The Super Eagles started the game on the front foot but could not find the breakthrough in the opening half.
It was clear the team needed inspiration, and they got it from Martins, who was making his competitive debut in the game. The then 19-year-old gave Nigeria the lead in the 55th minute before scoring his second two minutes from time.
Martins was also on target in the return leg, which saw Nigeria play a 1-1 draw. But unfortunately for Martins and the Nigerian team, they missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup.
The Super Eagles finished level on points with Angola, but the Palancas Negras qualified via a better head to head record.
Nigeria vs Senegal (AFCON 2006)
After failing to qualify for the World Cup, Nigeria went into the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, hoping to win their third AFCON title.
They were placed in a group of death that included Ghana, Senegal and Zimbabwe. Despite winning their first two games against Ghana and Zimbabwe, qualification for the next round was still not assured.
The Super Eagles went into the final group game against Senegal, knowing a win would seal not only qualification but also top spot.
However, the Senegalese dominated the opening half, with Nigeria lucky not to be behind at the break.
But that changed in the second half as Souleymane Camara pounced on a rebound from a Henri Camara shot to give Senegal the lead. The Teranga Lions looked well on course for a win until Martins headed home after Omar Daf spilt Kanu’s cross.
Martins then scored his second, tapping home from another Kanu assist to complete the comeback for the Super Eagles.
Nigeria vs Mexico (International Friendly)
Nigeria played Mexico in an international friendly in 2007, and once again, Martins showed his quality. The former Wolfsburg striker put the Super Eagles in the 32nd minute with a left-footed shot that flew past
And just after the break, he doubled Nigeria’s lead, slotting past Ochoa with his right foot. However, his goals were not enough to give Nigeria the victory as Mexico stormed back with goals from Juan Carlos Cacho to salvage a draw.
Kenya vs Nigeria (2010 World Cup Qualifier)
Nigeria were starring at a second consecutive absence from the World Cup when they travelled to Kenya for their final game in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
The Super Eagles went into the game against the Harambee Stars two points behind leaders Tunisia, who were away at Mozambique.
Nigeria needed a win against Kenya and hoped Tunisia slip up against Mozambique. But Shuaibu Amodu’s men got off to a worse possible start as Dennis Oliech put the home side ahead in the 16th minute. However, Martins restored parity, tapping home from close range following a ball from Osaze Odemwingie.
Aiyegbeni then turned the tie around for Nigeria in the 65th minute, finishing off his initial shot, which had hit the post.
It looked like Nigeria were on course for a win until Allan Wetende levelled matters with a header in the 79th minute.
And just as it looked like the Super Eagles World Cup hopes were over, Martins popped up in the 83rd minute to give Nigeria the win. It was a goal that sealed the Super Eagles place at the 2010 World Cup after Tunisia lost to Mozambique.