October 8 remains a memorable day for the Super Eagles and Nigerian fans. It is a day their dreams came true and a day that it was shattered. After many attempts, the Super Eagles qualified for their first FIFA World Cup on this day in 1993
After years of grooming his players, Clemence Westerhof was ready to unleash his fantastic Super Eagles on the world. But they had to qualify for the world cup first. After 32 years of trying to qualify for the World Cup, the Super Eagles picked a precious 1-1 draw with the Desert Foxes of Algeria to qualify for the world cup which was held in 1994
Nigera's goal was scored by Finidi George while Abdelhafid Tasfaout scored the equalizer for Algeria. The team's captain was Stephen Keshi while Rashidi Yekini was the team's highest goal scorer and the top scorer in the African qualifiers
Here are players that started for Nigeria: Wilfred Agbonabvare, Ben Iroha, Uche Okechukwu, Austin Eguavoen, Isaac Semitoje, Finidi George, Stephen Keshi, Thomson Oliha, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke and Rashidi Yekini.
The Super Eagles later won two games at the World Cup and qualified for the round of 16 but lost to the Azurri of Italy
On October 8, 2005, the hopes of the Super Eagles were dashed as they missed out on the World Cup even after beating Zimbabwe 5-1. The Super Eagles lost out to Angola on head to head.
While the Super Eagles were playing against Zimbabwe, Angola were playing against Rwanda and the Eagles expected Rwanda to do them a favour but that did not happen.
Obafemi Martins opened scoring for Nigeria in the 34th minute, while Yusuf Ayila scored Nigera's second goal in the 50th minute. Benjani Mwaruwari scored for Zimbabwe in the 70th minute but Martins scored in the 75th minute from the spot, while Kanu Nwankwo made it 4-1 in the 80th minute
At 4-1, the Super Eagles hoped that the score in the other game would be in their favour but Angola's captain, Fabrice Akwa scored a later winner to send Angola to the World Cup. Osaze Odemwingie scored Nigeria's fifth goal but it was inconsequential as the Super Eagles had already failed to qualify even before the final whistle.
It was a disappointing day for the fans who had hoped for a miracle. Their team delivered but Rwanda failed to deliver the ticket to the Super Eagles. So, on every October 8, these memories would readily come to the mind of many ardent long time followers of the Super Eagles
Content created and supplied by: ZephaniahBethelKalu (via Opera News )