Arsenal's Bukayo Saka is a new part of Nigeria's rich Community Shield history

Arsenal prevailed over Liverpool on penalties to claim their 16th Community Shield trophy on Saturday, making Bukayo Saka one of a proud group of Nigeria-origin players to claim the season-opening title.

It was the Gunners' 16th triumph in the traditional curtain-raiser to the Premier League season, and it took them one better than their opponents. Only Manchester United, with 21, have more.

Central to Arsenal's triumph on the day was breakout youngster Saka, whose deliciously pinpoint cross found captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the game's opening goal.

The London-born teen not only created three more opportunities, but could have been in a position to find a goal himself if Gabon's skipper had been as accurate as the 18-year-old in his crossing.

Since John Fashanu and his Wimbledon team lost 2-1 to Liverpool in 1988, players of Nigerian origin have appeared in 14 out of 31 Community Shield games. Of that number, there have been 10 appearances between 2006 and 2019.

After Fashanu, it took a full seven years before another Nigerian graced the hallowed Wembley for another appearance. That was Daniel Amokachi, with Everton in 1995. Unlike Fashanu, he finished on the winning side, as Everton claimed a 1-0 win over league champions Blackburn Rovers.

Four years later, Nwankwo Kanu not only followed in Amokachi's footsteps by claiming a win but he did so in some style, scoring a penalty and helping himself to an assist as Arsenal emerged 2-1 winners over Manchester United.

Kanu told ESPN that despite the game being largely considered a friendly, it remains an important source of bragging rights for the winners.

He said: "It means pride and is an important trophy for the club at the start of the season. It is the one that shows who is the bigger club after both have won something."

With Saka and Olayinka being in the Arsenal squad, it not only means that Nigerians have now been in 11 of the last 15 Community Shield contests, but have also won a total of eight.

John Utaka, who lost his sole appearance with Portsmouth to Manchester United, knows the feeling of losing, but says it is secondary to the experience.

Utaka told ESPN: "I am honoured to have played and shared the same stage against Manchester United regardless of result.

"It was an awesome experience. We lost by penalty shootouts, it could have gone either way on a good day."

Among Nigerians, Alex Iwobi has the most wins, with two. Both came with during his time at Arsenal, while John Obi Mikel has the worst record. His six appearances have only yielded one win.

Utaka says is should not be an issue: "It's an important match, not a friendly match, so no footballer is happy after losing a game.

"But in football, we all know that you win some and lose some. Every game lost or won comes with its own lesson. It doesn't stop us from playing in another FA Cup final a year after at Wembley.

"I am very happy for Saka and Olayinka. For me, the Community Shield is a prestigious trophy, not just a friendly match and winning trophies is always a good thing."

Saka has just been called up to the England under-21 side, a promotion for the teenager who was previously represented England at under 16, under 17, under 18, and under 19 levels.

He was widely expected to be named in the senior squad but England boss Gareth Southgate explained that although Saka was in consideration for a senior call up, he failed to make it only because he was considered an attacking player rather than a left back.

Southgate told the media: "He's obviously with the Under-21s this time and I feel he's more of an attacking player.

"I know he's played at left-back and he's given good contributions there in an attacking sense certainly. At the moment left wing-back, left side higher up the pitch, I know he's played in midfield and on the right as well but that they would be his better positions. He's a very exciting player.

'It is still early for him but he's a player we like and we are monitoring very closely. Saka had a very good season with Arsenal, not in the team at the very end but really good season of progress and he's a player we are watching very closely."

It is expected that the youngster could make his senior England appearance in the near future, but until he does so, Nigeria -- who have already made an approach -- will be keeping a close eye on him.

And even if he does make that England appearance, under a new rule being proposed by FIFA on change of nationality, he would remain eligible to switch to Nigeria if he makes no more than three senior appearances for England before he turns 21.

Either way, he has added to the glowing record of Nigerians in the Community Shield.