Football, Nigeria’s most known sport has served as powerful image-making tools for the nation and have also fostered friendship between Nigeria and other countries.
The sport over the years have experienced unprecedented highs which have kept many in utter joy and amusement. As Nigeria marks its 56th Independence, Nigerian Bulletin compiles the 7 most exciting moments that have brought joy and glory to the most populous black nation in the world.
1. 1980 Nations Cup
The team was known as Green Eagles and it comprised of players such as Christian Chukwu, Felix Oyelami and others. The tournament was hosted in Nigeria and the national team went ahead to claim the cup to the delight of Nigeria. First Nations Cup victory.
2. USA 94
It was a tough group D as Nigeria was grouped alongside Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria. Many lost hope in the team but surprisingly, the Super Eagles qualified as first in the group. The result sent tune of joy to the country. The first time the country will make it to the Round of 16 and the best world cup outing till date.
3. Atlanta 96
Nigeria’s ‘Dream Team’ were the first African team to win the men’s football event of the Olympics. The U-23 national side won the gold medal in the 1996 Games held in Atlanta.
4. Tunisia 94
The Super Eagles team that represented Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup in the United States is widely regarded as the country’s finest team in history. The team coached by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof dazzled the world with their soccer artistry and returned from the tournament with the second most entertaining team award.
5. Korea 2007
Nigeria have won the FIFA U17 World Cup before 2007, in 1985 and 1993 but the 2007 tournament held in Korea brought magical moments that stood in memory for long. The team which nobody gave hope before the beginning of the tournament went ahead to win the world cup on Asian soil.
6. Netherlands 2005
The 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship took place in the Netherlands between 10 June and 2 July 2005. On parade for Nigeria were the likes of Mikel Obi, Taye Taiwo and others. Though the team lost 2-1 to Argentina at the final, moments of the matches still remain fresh in the memory of Nigerians.
7. 2013 AFCON
Nigeria became victorious in the Africa Cup of Nations once again in 2013. Much to the delight of Nigerians, the Super Eagles brought home the trophy.