Today, this much beloved country of ours turns 59 years old and it has no doubt been a story of ups and downs, a journey of bends and straights and several moments of joy and tears.
There have been days when the country’s national teams upset the odds to beat more fancied foes. There have been players whose talents and wizardry have left the world of football gasping for their breaths. And there have been times when we have conquered the world.
Soccernet Nigeria brings you the ten most unforgettable moments for followers of the beautiful game in Nigeria since independence was gained almost six decades ago.
The newly minted Republic of Nigeria made her debut at the AFCON in 1963. The Red Scorpions, as the nation’s football team, was then called, expectedly did not wreak wonders in Ghana, finding it hard to make it past the group stage after losing both games to Sudan and Egypt.
The team could not qualify for the next five editions mainly due to political turmoil on the home front but by the time the country returned to the AFCON 13 years after her first showing, the Christian Chukwu-skippered side was ready for business.
And when the coach Tiko Jelisavcic-tutored side spanked cup-holders Zaire 4-2 in the group opener, it announced the arrival of a new great to the continent and sent streams of joy down the length and breadth of a nation just recovering from the nightmare of an unfortunate civil war.
Nigeria returned from Ethiopia ’76 with the bronze medal that was celebrated all over the country as though she had won gold.