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Top 5 unforgettable Super Eagles AFCON moments

Top 5 unforgettable Super Eagles AFCON moments - Naija News 247
Top 5 unforgettable Super Eagles AFCON moments

The 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in Cameroon on January 9, with the Super Eagles expected to fly the Nigerian flag high in their opening clash against Egypt next Tuesday.

Top 5 unforgettable Super Eagles AFCON moments - Naija News 247
Top 5 unforgettable Super Eagles AFCON moments

With a rich love and history of football, Nigeria has had its fair share of hit and misses with the continental tourney.

The country has experienced moments of irrepressible joy that saw streets filled with euphoric crowds and hurtful times when the land winces all over in pain after an uncomfortable loss to arch-rivals.

Without further ado, here are five of those memorable Super Eagles AFCON moments:

Nigeria vs Algeria 1980: Maiden AFCON triumph on home soil

Nigeria made her debut at the tournament in 1963 and didn’t qualify beyond the group stages. But better performances in subsequent editions saw the team finish third in 1976 and 1978.

The following edition of the continental tourney, held in Nigeria, was the launchpad where the country announced its footballing talent to the rest of Africa and the world.

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With revolutionary players like Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu, Muda Lawal, Best Ogedengbe, Nigeria cruised to her first AFCON trophy at a packed national stadium in Surulere.

A first-half brace from the electrifying Odegbami was complimented by a stab-in by Lawal in the early minutes of the second half, ensuring a comfortable 3-0 win over Algeria in the final.

Nigeria vs Zambia: Tunisia ’94 and the ‘golden generation’

After that bubbly evening in Lagos in 1980, it will take another 14 years and a pack of insanely talented players, adorably dubbed “golden generation” by Nigerians, before the country calls itself champions of Africa once again. In a white and black checkered jersey, the Eagles defeated Zambia 2-1 at the Stade El Menzah in Tunis to claim their second AFCON trophy.

Emmanuel Amunike’s brace came fast and was enough to turn the outcome in favour of Nigeria after the country suffered an early goal from Elijah Litana.

Cameroon vs Nigeria: Ikpeba’s penalty miss in 2000

Nigerians will never forget the picture of a crew-cut wearing Victor Ikpeba with hands on his head as the referee Mourad Daami signalled that his penalty, which subsequent TV replays showed clearly crossed the line, was missed.

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Agonizingly, it was in front of thousands of Nigerian fans that filled the national stadium in Surulere to its floodlights.

They were all expecting the Super Eagles to win another AFCON trophy on home soil like they did in 1980.

The Lions punctured the excitement with two first-half goals from Samuel Eto’o and Wilfred Mboma, but Jay-Jay Okocha dragged the Eagles back into the game before Chukwu Nduweke restored parity — leading the game to a penalty shootout.

Nwankwo Kanu and Ikpeba were the only two that missed theirs as Cameroun stunned the over 30,000 Nigerian fans at the stadium in broad daylight.

Nwankwo Kanu and Ikpeba were the only two that missed theirs as Cameroun stunned the over 30,000 Nigerian fans at the stadium in broad daylight.

Nigeria vs Cameroon: Sweet revenge against Cameroon in 2004

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, the then defending champions, had basked in the era of a deep-rooted dominance of African football.

As ever, Nigeria had a constellation of superstars who could cause havoc to opposition teams.

But there was another subplot to this clash in Monastir, Tunisia. Jay Jay Okocha, the BBC African footballer of the year, was apparently shunned by CAF, which handed the footballer of the year award to Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, and subtly, it was a battle for supremacy between these two African stars. Amazingly, both players scored, and their goals came with just five minutes difference.

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Eto’o scored first from a counterattack after the Eagles defence was slit open by Geremi’s pass, and Jay Jay replied almost immediately, curling in a freekick that left Idris Kameni rooted to his spot. The game was sealed, and the hegemony of Cameroon on African football was broken when Nwankwo Kanu languidly put a through-ball to John Utaka, whose firm shot ricocheted in off the upright.

Nigeria vs Burkina Faso: 3-star Eagles

After almost two decades of near misses and a series of third-place finishes, Super Eagles eventually won their third AFCON trophy in front of teeming fans at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.

All it took was a half-volley from the right boot of Sunday Mba, which dinked over Daouda Diakite and nestled into the far corner.

The late Stephen Keshi became only the second man to lift the trophy as a player and as a coach after Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary.

He was also the country’s last captain to lift the cup until that Sunday night in Jo’burg.

Olajire Taofeek
I've been a freelance web developer and blogger for a while now, and I have passion for both. Like most men, I'm a football lover, infact I prefer playing to watching matches.Personally, I believe with dedication there's no limit to what we can achieve. Yes, we all have the power and ability to do that.You can contact me via [email protected] for your web design and development gigs.

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