Thursday, January 25, 2018

Popular Last Names Used by Super Eagles' Players?

Do you think you will get the answer correct if you are asked "What is the most common last name ever used by players of the Nigerian national team?" This was the question that I set out to answer by examining last names (Surnames) of players that have played for Nigeria since the first game in 1949. Note, however, that these last names are assumed accurate based on their frequent usage in the media. However, there are possibilities of errors. For instance, one of Nigeria's players goes by the names Kalu Orji and then Kalu Orji Okagbue. In this case, we have entered his last name as "Orji."

In any case, there are numerous last names that came up multiple times.  Because of this and lack of space, I decided to ditch last names shared by only two players and consider only those that had at least three entries.

Ultimately, the name with most multiple entries is not surprising if you think about it. The most common last name used is Mohammed (Table 1). It appears in 11 entries! The closest other last names were distant second at six entries each. Those last names are Ibrahim, Lawal, and Nwosu.

However, how many times players using those last names played for Nigeria is also insightful (Figure 1). Of the three, players with the last name "Lawal" have played a combined 208 times, "Nwosu" for 80 times and 'Ibrahim' for only 20 times. Players with the last name "Lawal" have been quite productive with only Dimeji playing less than 5 times for the country. Players with "Lawal" as last name have been the most productive (combined) as their 208 appearances outstrip the total of 111 appearances for players bearing the last name "Mohammed."

The next most common last name is Okoro with five entries each. Three other last names had four entries each -- Musa, Obi, and Uche. The number of last names that had three entries? 18 is the answer. See the table below for the entries and then the first names associated with each entry and the national team career span for each player. 

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