The Super Eagles of Nigeria, managed by late Amodu Shuaibu were grouped with Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Sudan in the final round of the 2002 World Cup Qualifier.
Nigeria with some of the finest players the Super Eagles have ever had at the time contended for long spells in the group with Liberia, then powered and encouraged by their current President and captain at the time, George Weah.
Nigeria finished the group with 16 points from 8 games having won 5, drawn 1 and lost 2 of their games away to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Super Eagles however did enough to rack enough points, defeating Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana at home and thrashing Sudan home and away.
One of the famous victories which eventually helped the Super Eagles qualify for the first World Cup on Asian soil in Korea/Japan was a 4-0 win away to Sudan.
On one of the most difficult pitches a team could play on, the Nigerians were held for 40 minutes in the game played on the 1st of July 2001 before Jayjay Okocha raised the curtains five minutes before the break. It proved to be the perfect tonic for a victorious night.
In the second half, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, then plying his trade with Maccabi Haifa in Israel scored two minutes after resumption of the second half.
Julius Aghahowa, one of Nigeria’s hottest attacking sensations from the 2000 AFCON scored on the 79th minute to take the game past the Sudanese.
Aiyegbeni nailed the Secretary Birds’ coffin in the 87th minute.
In spite of the pressures faced by the team at the time, they rose above the Sudanese at the Al Merreikh Stadium, Omdurman in front of more than 20,000 Sudanese fans. The team won on the night and achieved a significant result to their quest for the World Cup.
Nigeria’s starting lineup on the night comprised; Ike Shorunmu, Eric Ejiofor, Ifeanyi Udeze, Taribo West, Joseph Yobo, Pascal Ojigwe, Jayjay Okocha, Finidi George, Julius Aghahowa, Nwankwo Kanu, and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.
Video Credit: 1986 Soccerman