Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Super Eagles AFCON A-Z

Super Eagles AFCON A-Z

A – Asuquo Ekpe was the first-ever player to score for Nigeria at the Nations Cup finals. The Ibadan Lions striker netted in the 78th minute to etch his name in the history books in the game Egypt, then known as United Arab Republic, triumphed 6-3.

B – Bad referee’s decision denied Nigeria a vital goal at Maroc’88 final when Henry Nwosu’s brilliant downward header was ruled out for offside by the Mauritanian referee Idrissa Sarr. Cameroon went on to win via Emmanuel Kunde’s 55th minute penalty.

C – Cameroon became Nigeria’s big albatross beating their neighbours a disappointing three times in the final.

D – Daniel Amokachi made the Nations Cup history by becoming the youngest player to feature at the Nation’s Cup finals at Algiers’90. The Ranchers Bees’ striker was 17 years and two months when he partnered late Rashidi Yekini in the Eagles’ attack.

E – Emmanuel Amuneke’s one and only Nations Cup appearance had grace written all over it. Not only did he play just one Nations Cup game, the former Zamalek striker netted the two goals in Eagles’ 2-1 win over Zambia to win the Nations Cup for the second time.

F – “Father” Jelisavic Tiko was the Yugoslav coach who led Eagles to their second Nations Cup appearance in Ethiopia in 1976.

G – Ghana hosted Eagles’ debut appearance at the Nation’s Cup in 1963.

H – Herbert Anijekwu, nicknamed “Ally Boser” marshaled the Eagles’ defense alongside Uche Okechukwu at the 1990 Nations Cup in Algeria. That was the late former Enugu Rangers’ central defender’s one appearance at that level for his country. He also surprisingly did not take his game abroad.

I – Ibadan Lions FC produced that first-ever player to score at the Nations Cup finals. Asuquo Ekpe, who would later play alongside his younger brother to be addressed in the press as “Ekpe Senior” was the goal scorer.

J – Jorge Augusto Penna was the first coach to take Eagles to the Nations Cup finals. The Brazilian tactician was in charge when Nigeria debuted at Ghana 1963 Nations Cup.

K – Kenneth Olayombo was one of the strikers that played in the Eagles’ attack at the 1976 Nations Cup finals in Ethiopia. He didn’t score however as Eagles finished third best in the continent.
L – Long passes supplied by Sunday Oliseh played a huge role when Eagles won the Nations Cup for the second time in 1994 in Tunisia. Debuting RC Liege midfielder Oliseh’s penchant for long passes was highly appreciated by Eagles’ legendary striker Rashidi Yekini.

M – Muda Lawal became the first Nigerian player to appear in the Nation’s Cup a record five times. The late IICC of Ibadan playmaker began his Nations Cup journey at Ethiopia 1976 and signed out in 1984 when Eagles lost 3-1 to Cameroon in Côte d’Ivoire.

N – Nwosu Henry, who was the youngest player at 1980 Nations Cup when Nigeria won it for the first time, did not get to play a single game.

O – Okey Isima was ever-present in the Eagles’ team that won the Nations Cup title on home soil in 1980. The late former Enugu Rangers defender was one of the few players that took their trade abroad, playing in Portugal for Vitoria Guimaraes.

P – Peter Rufai was in goal when Eagles won their second Nations Cup title in Tunisia in 1994.

Q – Qualification to Eagles’ debut Nations Cup finals was by a default as Guinea were disqualified after failing to provide neutral officials for the second leg qualifier game which Guinea won 1-0 in Conakry on a 3-2 aggregate win for the Guineans.

R – Rashidi Yekini’s record of Nigeria’s top scorer still remains unequaled or broken. The late former Vitoria Setubal striker netted 13 times in five Nations Cup appearances starting from Côte D’Ivoire 1984 finals.

S – Stephen Keshi won the Nations Cup as a player and coach to enter the country’s record books as the first to achieve the feat.

T – Tunde Bamidele, the dependable central defender for the 1980 Nations Cup-winning Eagles, died in 1997.

U – Uche Okechukwu was one of the few players to move abroad after helping his country to second place finish at Algiers’90. The towering central defender moved to Danish side Brondby soon after.

V – Video Assistant Referee (VAR) would have assisted Nigeria when Victor Ikpeba’s penalty goal was disallowed in the penalty shootout at 2000 Nations Cup in Lagos. Ikpeba’s goal actually crossed the line but the former Monaco striker’s spontaneous reaction wrapping his hands round his head helped sway Tunisian referee Mourad Daami’s decision to disallow his goal.

W – Westerhof led Eagles to win the Nations Cup title for the second time away from home in 1994 in Tunisia to cap his glorious tenure as Eagles’ coach.

X – Xenophobia against fellow compatriots in South Africa was defied as Eagles won their third title in 2013.

Y – Yellow card was Henry Nwosu’s reward for scoring a beautiful goal in the Maroc’88 Nations Cup final game against Cameroon. Referee Saar flashed him the card for protesting against his good goal.

Z – Zero-zero draw with Egypt was the one game Eagles did not score a goal at Tunisia’94 Nations Cup when Nigeria won the competition for the second time.

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