The legendary Nigerian midfielder was a common feature in the European circuit in the nineties and the early 2000s
Slavia Prague winger Peter Olayinka will make his 53rd appearance in UEFA European club competitions when the Czech Republic champions host Feyenoord in the second leg of their Europa Conference League on Thursday.
The first leg of their quarterfinals matchup in Rotterdam ended in 3-3, with Olayinka scoring his side’s first while compatriot Yira Sor scored one and assisted one of the other two.
That encounter was Olayinka’s 52nd appearance in European club competitions, taking him level with former PSG midfielder Austin Okocha.
The 26-year-old will surpass the legendary playmaker and go level with former Nigerian full-back Celestine Babayaro should he take to the pitch against Feyenoord in Slavia.
Olayinka’s new landmark will take him to the fifth-joint position among Nigeria’s highest appearance makers in European club competitions behind Nwankwo Kanu (81 matches), Taye Taiwo (78), John Mikel Obi (70), and Obafemi Martins (63).
Olayinka has managed an impressive four Conference League goals in nine matches this term. But his overall tally of nine is still some way short of the 23 netted by Obafemi Martins, the highest scoring Nigerian in European club competitions.
Should Slavia go all the way to lift the inaugural Conference League title, Olayinka will become only the fifth Nigerian star to win a European trophy.
Mikel Obi (2012), Finidi George (1995), and Nwankwo Kanu (1995) lifted the UEFA Champions League, while Taribo West (1998) and Chidi Odia (2005) won the UEFA Cup before it became the Europa League.