ONCE UPON A TIME, NIGERIA WAS THE FIFTH BEST FOOTBALL TEAM IN THE WORLD
There was a time that Nigeria had the world at her feet. There was a time that our footballers played in some of the top clubs in the world. There was a time that our footballers were at the top of their game. There was a time that our opponents trembled before us. There was a time that we won trophies and individual accolades, gave top footballing nations a run for their money, and created a record that no country in Africa probably may never surpass. There was a time that our players won individual awards given out by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Yes there was a time that the Super Eagles were amongst the best in the world.
On APRIL 1994, few months after winning the country's second African Cup of Nations title in Tunisia, the Super Eagles were ranked THE FIFTH best footballing nation in the world by FIFA.
That year was a great one for Nigerian football. At that period, we had a group of players who were at their prime almost simultaneously. Some were first team players in their clubs in Europe. The team made up of Peter Rufai, Alloysius Agu, the inspiring captain, Stephen Keshi, Uche Okechukwu, Sunday Oliseh, Mutiu 'the Headmaster' Adepoju, Samson Siasia, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, Daniel 'The Bull' Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, George Finidi, Nigerian highest goal scorer, Rashidi Yekini, Victor Ikpeba, Austin Eguaveon, Been Iroha, et al, was the best Nigerian players ever assembled. When they were in form, the world watched them in awe because their style of play was breathtaking. That team was Nigeria's golden generation.
The team coached by the inspiring Dutchman, Clemens Westehof, qualified for the world cup in USA in 1994. That was Nigeria's first appearance at the mundial. And in the group stage, Nigeria were paired against Diego Maradona's Argentina, Greece and Hristo Stoichkov's Bulgeria. In the group stages, the Super Eagles beat Bulgeria 3-0, lost 1-2 to Argentina and finished off the Greeks 2-0. In all their matches including their round of 16 lost to Italy at extra time, the team showed confidence, stability, determination, and a desire to win. Those qualities were the hallmark of the team.
Without equivocation, the team was able to achieve what it achieved that year because it had stability on and off the pitch, and they were leaders like Stephen Keshi in the team.
That year was Nigeria's golden year! And no team in Africa has achieved what the Super Eagles achieved that year. The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations, and was ranked fifth by FIFA ( the highest position by an African team on football ranking), qualified for the round of 16 at the world cup, and a Nigerian player (Emmanuel Amuneke) won the African Footballer of the Year gong. Certainly, it is a record which may never be surpassed. And it was a year that Nigeria tasted greatness.
Content created and supplied by: HappiestMan (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More