They are called the Super Eagles and not for nothing. When their game is on, it’s a joy to watch. They glide and they fly on the pitch, they sometimes dance. Through the years, they had some of the most exciting players, and some of their players played for top-flight European clubs. They are an all-attack team, they score a lot of goals and when they do – they smile and they dance some more.
One can look at the evolution of Nigerian football through the list of the all-time greats that have graced it over the years. There was the most caped player, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who, between 2002-2015 registered 101 appearances while playing Champions League football with an Israeli team and later playing for French side Lille. Behind him on the list is Nwankwo Kanu, who played for Ajax Amsterdam (Champions League winner in 1995), Inter Milan and Arsenal, among others, and captained Nigeria's golden medal team at the 1996 Olympics.
Then there is John Obi Mikel, who, in an 11-year impressive period playing for Chelsea, has won everything club football have to offer a player. And the list goes on and on.
Nigeria's top goal scorer is Rashidi yekini, who scored 37 goals in 58 caps for the national team.
Amazingly, Nigeria first qualified for the world cup only in 1994, where it reached the round of sixteen and was about two minutes away from advancing to the quarter finals, only to get scored on twice by Roberto Baggio and Italy (the second goal in over-time), and to be eliminated from the tournament. Since, bare Germany in 2006, the Nigerians have qualified to all world cup tournaments.
One of Nigerian football proudest moments came two years later, during the Atlanta Olympic games. During the semi-finals, Nigeria met a heavy-favored Brazil and was down 1-3. As time was running out, Kanu equaled the score. His second goal of the game in extra time gave football one of its greatest comebacks, and surely the greatest football match in Olympic history. In the final, Nigeria again had to come from behind, as it fell 1-2 to Argentina, only to equalized in the 74th minutes. As the game was winding down, Emmanuel Amunike scored the winning goal, to give the Super Eagles their first ever gold medal.
In addition, the Nigerian national team is a three-time Africa Cup of Nations champion – 1980, 1994, 2013.
The team play most of its home games in the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, a 30,000-seat sports complex, which was open in 2012. Other games are played at Abuja National Stadium.
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