Top 10 Nigerian players of “American Football” In Canada

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B.C. Lions' Micah Awe (58) celebrates after teammate Davon Coleman, not seen, sacked Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday September 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

ADEOYE TALABI

Micah Awe

Micah Awe is linebacker for the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football at Texas Tech. He has also been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, BC Lions, Toronto Argonauts, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Awe was born in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to the United States when he was three years old. He has three siblings. Awe’s mother graduated with her masters from Texas Tech University and his father graduated with his masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.

B.C. Lions’ Micah Awe (58) celebrates after teammate Davon Coleman, not seen, sacked Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday September 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Kaetochuku “Kay” Okafor

Kaetochuku “Kay” Okafor is an offensive lineman for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was drafted in the third round, 21st overall, by the Tiger-Cats in the 2017 CFL Draft.  He played college football for the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.

Okafor was born and raised in Nigeria and moved to Prince Edward Island in 2011 and attended the University of Prince Edward Island there. His parents, three sisters, and brother lived in Nigeria while he attended university in Canada.

Godfrey Onyeka

Godfrey Onyeka is a defensive back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Onyeka was born in Lagos, Nigeria to parents Jane and Godfrey Onyeka Sr. He moved with his family to Canada when he was 11 years old and grew up in Brampton, Ontario. His younger brother, Kene Onyeka, plays professionally in the CFL as a defensive lineman. His cousin, Nakas Onyeka, plays linebacker and was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts, and his other cousin, Kosi Onyeka, plays linebacker for the Guelph Gryphons.

He made a career-high eight defensive tackles against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on September 11, 2021, in the Banjo Bowl.

Tunde Adeleke

Tunde Adeleke is a Canadian football defensive back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Adeleke played U Sports football for the Carleton Ravens from 2013 to 2016.

Adeleke was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in the third round, 25th overall, in the 2017 CFL Draft and signed with the team on May 27, 2017. He played for two seasons with the Stampeders and won his first Grey Cup championship after the team’s victory in the 106th Grey Cup game. Adeleke signed as a free agent with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on February 12, 2019.

Anie-Ebiet Michael Edem

Anie-Ebiet Michael Edem is a defensive back for the Saskatchewan. After the 2012 CIS season, he was ranked as the tenth best player in the Canadian Football League’s Amateur Scouting Bureau final rankings for players eligible in the 2013 CFL Draft and sixth by players in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

Edem started the first five games of the 2021 season at safety for the Riders, contributing with 11 defensive tackles and one forced fumble. He suffered a broken wrist in the Banjo Bowl match against the Blue Bombers. In late October it was announced that he would miss the remainder of the season.

Kene Onyeka

Kene Onyeka is a defensive lineman for the Ottawa Redblacks.

Onyeka played U Sports football for the Carleton Ravens from 2014 to 2018. In 2017, Onyeka was named a First Team All-Canadian and the OUA top lineman as he recorded 32 solo tackles, including 12.5 tackles for a loss, 14 assisted tackles, 10.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. He repeated both awards following the 2018 season, despite only playing in six of the eight regular season games as he had 21 solo tackles (10.5 tackles for a loss), six assisted tackles, and seven sacks.

David Onyemata

David Onyemata is defensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Manitoba.

Onyemata is a native of Lagos, Nigeria, where he attended the Chrisland Schools but he graduated from Rainbow College. He immigrated, on his own, to Winnipeg in 2011 to attend college.

On March 18, 2020, Onyemata signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension with the Saints. On March 3, 2021, Onyemata agreed to convert part of his $7MM base salary into a signing bonus to free up cap space for New Orleans.

Israel Idonije

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Israel Idonije was a defensive end in the National Football League.

Idonije was born in Lagos, Nigeria and immigrated with his family to Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, when he was four years old. He helped lead the Bison to the 2001 Vanier Cup where Manitoba was defeated by the Saint Mary’s Huskies. In 2002, Idonije was named 2002 Manitoba Male Athlete of the Year.

He has also played for the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants.

Royce Metchie

Royce Metchie is a defensive back for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

He was drafted by the Stampeders in the third round, 25th overall, in the 2018 CFL Draft and signed with the team on May 14, 2018. He began the 2018 season on the practice roster but was soon elevated to the active roster and played in his first game on June 28, 2018 against the Ottawa Redblacks.

On February 4, 2022, Metchie was traded to the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for Cameron Judge as both players had contracts expiring the following week.

Alex Ogbongbemiga

Alex Ogbongbemiga is a linebacker for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. He played college football at Calgary.

He spent the 2015 season with the Calgary Colts of the Canadian Junior Football League. Ogbongbemiga was on the active roster for both the Eastern Semi-Final and Final. He made his CFL debut on July 16. And was traded to Edmonton from Saskatchewan on Aug. 8, 2016 in exchange for national defensive tackle Gregory Alexandre. He signed a free agent contract with the BC Lions in June 2017.

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