Thursday, January 10, 2013

My First Nations Cup

I HAVE VERY FOND MEMORIES of my first Africa Cup of Nations, the one hosted and won by Nigeria in 1980.

I call it my ‘first’ Cup of Nations because it was the first time I would follow the proceedings of the competition from start to finish and, even as I write this, I can recollect several episodes quite vividly.

I was a final year student at Iganmode Grammar School, Ota, Ogun State. It was March, 1980, just about three months to my West African School Certificate (WASC) exams.

Iganmode Grammar School is actually a walking distance from the present day Obasanjo Farms in Ota where the Super Eagles have used as training camp in recent years. When I was in school, though, Obasanjo Farms had not been established there, so I didn’t have the privilege of sneaking out to watch the national team train as I imagine the present boys in the school would have been doing.

I was in the boarding house, so I didn’t have the chance of watching any of the games live at either of the two centres in Lagos and Ibadan. Of course, some of my bolder and bigger classmates sneaked out to watch the Eagles play in Lagos, but I was always an obedient, law-abiding school boy!

Unfortunately, the boarding house television set had broken down, or so we were told because I had never set my eyes on it anyway, since I was admitted into “IGS” in 1975. We just learnt that the school had one big TV set which was bad and had been locked up in the school store adjacent to the Library in the “Senior Block”
accommodating classes four and five. So, it was the housemaster Mr. John Amoah’s 14inch black and white television set that came to the rescue of about 200 soccer-crazy boarding school boys at Iganmode Grammar School in 1980.

Mr. Amoah was actually my favourite teacher. He taught my class in my best two subjects, English Language and English Literature. In fact, Mr. Amoah was instrumental in my becoming a journalist, as he told me back then that I had a talent for writing and encouraged me in a lot of ways. See why I said I have a load of sweet, everlasting memories about the 1980 Nations Cup?

Now, Mr. Amoah was a Ghanaian and, in football terms, that meant a lot to the Nigerian soccer fan, even back then. Ghana had won the previous Nations Cup at home in 1978 and had come to Nigeria as defending champions. They were grouped with Morocco, Guinea and Algeria in what was considered the zone of death in Ibadan. And I remember as if it was yesterday that the wish of every boy in Iganmode was that Ghana should “die” in the zone by failing to qualify.

We regarded Ghana as the biggest stumbling block to an expected Eagles victory and didn’t want to see their faces in Lagos at all. And so it turned out as Morocco and Algeria shut out the Black Stars in Ibadan. But I shall come to that later.

Back in Lagos and the opening day of the 12th Africa Cup of Nations on March 3, 1980. The Eagles were up against the Taifa Stars of Tazania and Mr. Amoah had to bring out his small TV set on the hostel assembly ground. Two hundred of us crowded around the tiny box. And, for every goal the Eagles scored, we would yell and scatter in different directions to celebrate, then converge back on the tiny box to watch and gesticulate at every movement as the game continued.

The Eagles won that opening match 3-1, struggled to a goalless draw with a stubborn Ivorien side in their second game, then beat Egypt with an Okey Isima goal in their last group match. Nigeria qualified for the semi-final as group leaders and beat Morocco 1-0 in clearly their toughest match of the tournament.

Morocco, meanwhile, had done our wish by eliminating Ghana. In their group’s opening game played under floodlights in Ibadan, the Moroccans defeated Ghana 1-0 in a high-tempo match and the Ghanaians never recovered from that setback.

I remember the match quite well because, on this occasion, Mr. Amoah had not brought out his TV as it was dark and all students ought to be in bed. But fanatics like me couldn’t sleep and we sneaked to Mr. Amoah’s window to peep in at the match. The player I remember most on the Ghana side was the cap-wearing goalkeeper Joseph Carr.

The housemaster was angry that Ibadan fans were cheering Morocco and booing Ghana. “Why, why why are they supporting the North Africans,” Mr. Amoah was moaning to no one in particular. “Nigerians should be supporting us as their black West African brothers,” he complained and I still remember how he pronounced the word “brothers” in that peculiar Ghanaian way: “Brathers!” But for us young, mischievous fanatics at the window, Mr. Amoah’s moans were sweet music to our ears. Ghana’s pain was our joy.

Indeed, the Nigeria-Ghana rivalry runs long and deep as I recollect that my Dad once told me that the Ghanaians were so good in the 1960s that they used to beat Nigeria by comprehensive scorelines like 5-0 in Accra and 7-0 in Lagos! Maybe the scores were exaggerated, but it was like Ghana had been our nemesis for long and they were to be hated with a passion!

Back to 1980, March 22 to be precise, Nigeria played Algeria in the final of the 12th Africa Cup of Nations and Mr. Amoah, having recovered from Ghana’s exit, brought out his 14inch TV set again. It was probably the Eagles’ easiest game as they completely overwhelmed the Algerians. Three times Nigeria scored, and three times 200 of us Iganmode spectators scattered in different directions to celebrate.

The heroes of Nigeria’s triumph, of course, were “Mathematical” Segun Odegbami whose footworks brought applause from us each time he “shuffled those long legs to confuse his opponents; “Chief Justice” Adokiye Amiesimaka who would never tuck in his jersey into his shorts and Felix Owolabi who drew a spontaneous “Owoblow” from the crowd each time he touched the ball.

It’s 25 years now that all these happened but I can still remember everything as if it was yesterday.

I have been lucky. In those 25 years, I have gone on to fulfil Mr. Amoah’s prediction and become a journalist; I have come into personal contact with nearly all of those heroes of 1980, interviewing them, writing about them and even working with them.

The great Segun Odegbami is my director at Complete Sports and we sit at the same table, can you imagine? I have had breakfast with “Owoblow” in his house in Ibadan, and I have been guest of Adokiye Amiesimaka in Port Harcourt. In fact, I went on the Port Harcourt trip with Segun Odegbami and as I sat there, the two great wing wizards, Segun on the right and Adokiye on the left, recalled some of their great moments together.

I looked at myself, sitting between two great players, two African champions who terrorised defences across the continent, two superstars who orchestrated the first remarkable moments in Nigerian football history.

It’s not everybody who gets to meet their boyhood heroes face-to-face, much less relate with them so closely.
These are things money cannot buy. Surely, I’ve been lucky and I know it. Thank God.

Addendum: My first Nations Cup coverage as a journalist was at Senegal ‘92 and Ghanaians, again, played a prominent part in my recollections. As we rode on the media bus from the hotel to the semi-final match between Nigeria and Ghana at the Stade L’ Amitie in Dakar, a loudmouth Ghanaian colleague (I can’t recall his name now, so I’ll call him “Kofi”) started running an imaginary commentary on the match yet to be played and concluded as we arrived in the stadium by saying: “Final score: Nigeria 1, Ghana 2.”

The Nigerian press corps simply ignored him, determined to let our Eagles do the talking for us by winning on the field of play. Unfortunately for us, Ghana won the match 2-1 as “Kofi” had predicted and you need to hear his boasts on the bus ride back to the hotel. The eyes of the Nigerian guys, including yours truly, were red. But we still had the last laugh because, whereas Nigeria defeated another arch rival Cameroun in the third place match to grab the bronze medal, “Kofi” and Ghana surprisingly crashed to Cote d’ Ivoire in a marathon penalty shoot-out in the final.

*This article was first published in March 2005. It has now become a ritual for me to re-run it in Soccertalk before every Nations Cup finals.

Do you have any fond memories of your own “First Nations Cup?” Write to me at soccertalk@completesportsnigeria.com or text a summarized version of your story to 08179545076. The best articles will be published next week, insha Allah.

MESSI: THE LION KING

MY ADMIRATION  for Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team’s brand of football is well documented by my several accolades repeatedly showered on them in this column. Now, I have completely run out of words to describe the little Argentine magician.

When Messi was named yet again as the best player in the world and winner of the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’ Or (Golden Ball) for a record FOURTH straight year on Monday night at a colourful ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, I just sat in front of the television set with my wife and watched speechless. What else is there to say that has not been said about probably the greatest footballer that ever lived.

I only felt sorry for Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi’s Barca teammate Andres Iniesta both of whom would have fully deserved the title, too. Ronaldo’s goals stand him out, while Iniesta’s skills on the ball make my heart palpitate. But Messi remains the greatest because he is Ronaldo and Iniesta combined, plus much more!

The only thing left to complete Messi’s legacy is for him to lead Argentina to win the World Cup and be called a world champion like Usain Bolt. At the rate that Messi is going, it’s definitely not beyond him to do so at Brazil 2014 just like Diego Maradona did at Mexico 1996 to cement his own legacy.

Watch out for more from Lionel Messi, the Lion King!

FEEDBACK

ABRIDGED LEAGUE

Mr. Mumini. I have followed your column for many years and often agree with your views. But I seriously disagree with your suggestion to abridge our 2012/2013 League season so it could end in May/June. Our CAF club competitions run from January to December. Ending our season in June will distrupt the participation of our representatives in those competitions because their players may go on transfers. We shouldn’t foolishly ape the European season.

At any rate, it is quite annoying that our football season is yet to start even now. Enough of this confusion! Happy new year. – Barr. Ifeanyi Nrialike, Abuja.

FORMER NPL boss Victor Rumson-Baribote deserved what he got. We haven’t forgotten his controversial displacement of Davidson Owumi. The cane that was used to beat the first wife has now been used on the second wife. Serves him right.

Meanwhile, I support the idea of an abridged league so we could end the season on schedule. – Otunba Olayinka Olabisi Onesile, NYCN, Lagos State Chapter.

I SUPPORT an abridged league season. But the format should be 10 teams each playing in two groups and the two group winners playing off for the title. The Federation Cup should also be played on a straight knock-out from start to finish to save time. Both competitions should end in June. – Coach Ibrahim Musa, Ibadan.

SUPER EAGLES

A LOT has changed in the Super Eagles since Stephen Keshi took over and holding Catalonia to a 1-1 draw in a friendly match is evidence that they will do well in South Africa. With absolute focus and concentration, I’m confident we can overcome Cote d’ Ivorie, Ghana and Zambia. – Pastor Eyebiokun.

lTHE Eagles played a good match against Catalonia and I salute them. But Keshi should work on the left side of his defence. It’s a weak link in the team. – From Igho, Sapele, Delta State.

18 comments:

  1. My first Nations Cup experience was "Mali 2002"......I remember the
    incidences vividly that led to my attending the 3rd place and finals....

    I worked with a Telecommunications Company then and were also sponsoring
    the ACN (not the Nigerian Party oo) then. So, I suggested to the Management
    that it only makes sense to sponsor some staff for the events since we were
    sponsoring and this was approved. I was nominated (at least the Bible says
    a labourer is worhty of his wages, nau abi) amongst others but some members
    of the Marketing & Sponsorship dept kicked against my nomination and then
    recommended that all staff should go through a knowledge quiz....Yours
    truly, I also won (one of the 3 successful staff) and then I was called
    into a meeting that they might not allow me go (just because I had won a
    competition earlier in the year (can you imagine - they wanted to kill my
    star, but God no gree them)....We landed Mali on the long run for the
    competition (this trip formed the basis of the current practice where staff
    of the Company are sponsored to the Nations Cup and world cup that held in
    2010)

    My real experience was actually at Mali.... they eat so much rice and
    chicken ( I was afraid of contacting chicken pox from too much of
    it....just joking oo) and then to my ammazement and "Surprisation" (ala
    Chief Zebrudaya), there were no generating sets (generators) in the 2
    hotels we lodged as well as the business centre i went to send an email to
    Nigeria.....Small Mali? Nigeria, my beloved country is strewn with
    Generators all over... I wept for Nigeria because of that incidence
    alone......that has left an indelible mark and impression on me........and
    that my Nations cup experience brought me into contact with Jaiye Aboderin
    of blessed memory.. May his soul continue to rest in piece....

    That is my First Nations Cup and I hope i can build on that too by going to
    watch this year's edition in South Africa.....

    keep up the good works sir......



    Joshua Bamigboye
    From Ikoyi, Lagos

    ReplyDelete
  2. MEMORIES OF MY FIRST NATIONS CUP
    Truly reading Mumini Alao's refreshing article on memories of my first
    nation's cup is very stimulating and tends to bring back emotions and
    passion. But again, I do not see any similarity in the first nation's
    cup of 1980 that Nigeria won and the one we are about to witness in
    South Africa in a matter of days from today. Why? Before the 1980
    nations 'cup, Nigeria could see the potential winners in our team. We
    had the likes of Segun 'Mathematical'Odegbami, magnificent midfield
    maestro, Mudashiru Lawal of blessed memory; skipper Christian Chukwu,
    Chief justice Adokie and a host of very promising stars listed for the
    tournament. The present team does not have such names and like, and
    cannot be said to give hopes.

    I went to the stadium on the day of our first match in 1980 to see our
    stars and with the conviction that Nigeria will not only win the first
    match, but will go ahead to win the cup on home soil. And this came to
    pass. But today, our players are struggling, and we are no longer the
    giant of Africa - we tend to have lost the pride of a Super Eagles of
    old. Our expectations have been varied - some expecting that Nigeria
    should earn for a place in the semis; others say we should be lucky to
    survive the preliminary stage. What an irony!

    The hysteria in expecting the release of the 23 players that will done
    the green and white jersey of our national pride is no longer there. I
    have personally looked at the list of players paraded by Keshi and have
    concluded that they are just ordinary players. That in effect means
    that we should prime our expectations from the team in a modest way. I
    am not expecting Nigeria to win the nations cup. That does not mean
    that I am not patriotic - far from it. But realistically speaking, you
    do not give what you don't have. We do not have the quality of stars
    and players that can conveniently assure you of victory. When it has
    become the norm for Nigeria to struggle to qualify for a nation's cup
    amidst minors, expecting outright victory would be a daunting task.

    Shame! We seem to have lost touch with development of the game. Our
    infrastructures are decaying; our administrators are out-fashioned; our
    government has lost focus and our people slumbered. We need a
    generational change now.

    My fear, fellow Nigerians! Yobo, to captain of our national team! You
    need a man with God's trust to lead: Does Yobo pretend to have that?
    Can't we entrust our captainship luck in another player? Good luck
    Eagles.

    Lawrence Nwaru
    From Ojodu, Lagos

    ReplyDelete
  3. My first nations cup was in 1980 but so young to remember all games except the final
    episode against the Fennecs or Desert Warriors of Algeria in National Stadium Lagos.
    Though I watched it through a 12' black and white TV set. What do you expect from a
    primary three pupil. Meanwhile, I can't forget Maroc '88 easily when the African
    best like Roger Milla, Robar Madja, Rasidi Yekeen, Makanaki, Ademola Adesina, Peter Rufai was in the field of play. The best match of the competition to me was the semi final between Nigeria and Morroco that went into the penalty shoot out after the game ended one all.

    It just flashed back to me now how Dodo Mayana caught the Morrocans penalty to give Eagles the victory. Maroc '88 my real first Nations cup experience.

    Gbenga

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  4. RE-MY FIRST NATION CUP

    Having read, appreciated and digested the fond memories of my not too close friend, my School mate at Anwar –UL- Islam College Agege (A year Senior at HSC Class), my fellow Ago dwellers, my Muslim brother and above all the eloquent and down to hearth honest Alhaji Mumini Alao on January 9th 2013 of complete sport edition. I look back with nostalgia my first cup of Nations.

    My first cup of nations was apparently the 1980 Nations cup hosted and won by Nigeria but my own experience was different from that of my friend Mumini. In actual fact, mine was with mixed feeling. I completed my secondary education in 1979 in Zumratul-Islamiyyah Grammer School Yaba, Lagos (the very last set in Yaba before relocating to their present site Igbogbo). In essence in 1980, when the Nations cup was hosted I was so free, as I had the whole time in my kitty. As a result of this, I was in the stadium live and witnessed all the pre-match action vis-à-vis all the matches played in Lagos.

    In the opening game of 3rd of March 1980 between the Eagles and Talfa stars of Tanzania, as said ealier, it was a mixed feeling. Many football faithful who were late to the stadium, in their efforts to get seated were thrown round like stones and at the end of the day seriously injured some with brushes and cuts. The match was one of the easiest for us in the competition and ended 3-1, in favour of the Eagles. The end of the match witnessed a more serious disaster as the stadium management wittingly or unwittingly switched of the light, and in a bid to find their way out of the stadium there were lots of casualties. While some fans lost their lives, others were seriously injured as a result of the scramble for escape. I was lucky to have left the stadium 10-minutes to the full time, since it was a case of ‘Victoria asserter’ (Victory is certain).

    In the second match with Ivory Coast, there was a little improvement in the way fans behaves. The stadium was also jam-parked and this time around, the fans throwing late-comers about turned to fun. At the end of the game that ended goalless. Stadium management were more careful this time around and the light were not switched-off until, the last persons(s) left the stadium. However, I want to disagree with my friend Mumini that the Nigeria, Morocco match was the toughest. I believe strongly that Nigeria, Ivory Coast match was the toughest, more technical and energy sapping. (this is a personal opinion). Yes the Eagles crushed the Egyptians in their last group match and rounded up Morocco in the semi final stage. Wasn’t that great?

    The final match between Nigeria and Algerian was an easy ride, as the mathematical Odegbami scored two out of the 3 goals in a 3-1 encounter. I recalled with relish, the action of the third goals scored by Odegbami at the net opposite where I sat. it was not a “television” goal but only a very intelligent player of the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta etc. could display such a rare skill, i.e. scoring with what was known during our days as a sliding tackle. Remember Mumini, the types we had in our school field-Anwar-UL-Islam, College Oniwaya, Agege.

    God bless you Mumini Compliments of the season.



    Lawal-Akapo, Agboola Adio
    From Ijora Olopa, Lagos.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was a lower six student of Baptist Academy, Yaba during the 1976 Nations Cup, Ethiopia (Dire Dawa ’76).

    I remember vividly the arrogance of the defending champions from 1974, Zaire who had also represented Africa at World Cup (Germany 74) as the Leopards refused to share the same hotel with the other teams in their group (including Nigeria’s Green Eagles) in Dire Dawa!
    The Zaireans were humiliated 4-2by an emerging African force the Eagles would turn out to be.

    Haruna Ilerika, Muda Lawal, Kunle Awesu and Baba Otu Mohammed (the latter duo were chosen best left and right Winger respectively at the end of the competition) stood out in the Nigerian team.

    Dribbling wizard, Haruna, Ilerika a fore runner of present-day Lionel Messi both in physique and playing style was the Ethiopian fans favourite: goal keeper Joe Erico, years later confirmed the story of an Ethiopian lady who came to the Eagles hotel, crying to meet “No 9” (Ilerika’s jersey number). The foreign coach (I forget his name now) permitted Ilerika to go out with the Ethiopian beauty for a lunch!

    The Eagles won bronze at the end having been robbed in the crucial match against the legendary Ahmed Faras Morocco.

    You mentioned in your article how Ghana was CURSED out of the 1980 Nations Cup. Let me shed some light on this occurrence.

    In 1980, I was already at the University of Ife and put my books aside, to shuttle between Lagos and Ibadan to watch ALL the matches (except the second semi-final match between Algeria and Egypt in Ibadan which took place simultaneously with the Green Eagles match with Morocco in Lagos)!.

    At the Ibadan centre, Ghana’s Black stars were JINXED out of the competition in retaliation for what the Green Eagles had experienced in 1978 when Ghana hosted the competition!

    In Accra, Nigeria played an impressive 1-1 draw with Ghana in the group match as the graceful Segun Odegbami belittled the legendary Ghanaian goal keeper Joseph Carr with an audacious header.

    With this result and performance in mind, when Nigeria confronted the Ugandan Cranes in the semi-final, the Ghanaians knew that the Eagles must be stopped from reaching the final against the Black Stars.

    Therefore, every support was given to the East African surprise packet and the Eagles duly fell partly to the exhuberance of Adokie Amiesimaka. That experience, two years earlier, was the foundation of the 1980 Ibadan incident.

    Interestingly, like you, I would later meet many of the great stars of the Nations Cup history including the francophone heroes as I worked as a sports journalist and indeed spent some years at Sports Souvenir (now Complete Sports) in the mid 80’s.



    TUNDE GAMBLA OGUNNOIKI

    ReplyDelete
  6. My first nations cup was actually the 14th
    edition of the championship in Ivory Coast in 1984 where Theophilus Abega now
    late led the likes of Thomas Nkono, Roger Milla and so many high profile Cameroonian
    stars to thrash the Super Eagles that was captained by the current Super Eagles
    coach Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu, Tarila Okorowanta, Humphrer Edobor, Peter Rufai,
    Patrick Okala (who was in goal in that final match), Muda Lawal, Rasheed Yekini
    (the last three players are all late now)

    It was the first nation cup that an indigenous coach in the
    name of Adegboye Onigbide will lead us to the final place (just hope Stephen
    Keshi will go further this time around by winning the trophy). Though Nigeria
    lost the match by 3 goals to one, having taken the lead through Mudashiru Lawal

    Nigeria playing in a group that has the likes of defending
    champion, Ghana, Algeria and Malawi qualified after edging out Ghana who cried
    foul that there was an accord game between Nigeria and Algeria. The scenario
    before the last match between Nigeria and Algeria was that both Nigeria and
    Algeria just needed a draw to qualify while Ghana who has lost their first
    match to Nigeria by 2 goals to 1 pray for either of them to stumbled.

    At the end both side played a drab game, and I could remember
    my brother saying then that “which kind game be dis?” in which I told him that,
    neither of the two teams need the game

    Nigeria went on to defeat Egypt in a very tension semi-final
    game, via penalty shoot-out. Peter Rufai was the hero of the match, I could
    still remember, even though I was just an eleven year old boy then. Why Rufai
    was benched for Okala for the final match generated a lot of debate after the
    defeat by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun

    Ajibade Alabi

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  7. Dear Mumini, Choice Season's Greetings. Your Nations Cup reminiscence conjures up a mixed feeling in me. The demoralising results posted by the then Green Eagles in the 60s ( 5-0 & 7-0 white-wash of Nigeria by Ghana ) discouraged me from following the Nations Cup until 1976 when Eagles came back from Dire Dawa, Ethiopia with 'golden' Bronze & the Newspapers were awashed with praises for a left- footed lad called Harunah Ilerika (RIP). Ever since, I have become an ardent follower of Nigerian Soccer, though I played the game to Secondary School level - Govt College (BAREWA), Zaria with pictures of me in college jersey no. 6 of old holding trophies which I still proudly display in an album. But your article succinctly covered the 1980 Nations Cup up to date & I don't have any other better thing to add. Well done. However, the Eagles v Cape Verde match on Wednesday sort of indicated that "by spiting the face, Coach Keshi has cut off the nose". In as much as I accept the wish & choice of the Coach, Keshi might have unwittingly reduced his fire power by 2 potent strikers! Say, how many goals have the likes of Uzoenyi & Mba scored internationally in comparison to the intimidating presence & goalscoring ability of Odemniwingie & Dike? A Commander goes to war with the best of his soldiers. AFCON is not a training ground for rookies, not even as a reward for loyalty in the qualifiers. I hope the final of AFCON 2013 proves me wrong about Keshi's naivety for the home based lads. A match is won on goals. Musa & Moses are basically midfielders leaving average strikers in Emenike, Ike Uche & Ideye to labour hard for goals as shown in the high no. of drawn games played by the Eagles since last year. It is only by scoring goals the Super Eagles can win AFCON 2013. Best of Luck.

    Dele Kola, Omole - Ikeja.

    ReplyDelete
  8. CORRECTION:1980-2013=33yrs not 25.i know maths more than u, but i study "marine engineering"bye till Wednesday.

    i'm Osaze not d arrogant one

    ReplyDelete
  9. You're right, but remember I mentioned that the the article was first published in 2005. Do the arithmetic, engineer Osaze!

    Cheers - Mumini

    ReplyDelete
  10. My First Nations Cup.It was the same edition like yours 1980.Having arrived Lagos from my village Amaeke Abam in then Imo State late january before the hostality started in march 80.I was living at Amukoko and walking to National Stadium Surulere is very easy being a raw village boy after going by molue through ijora badia the first day.On the final day between Nigeria and Algeria I was at the stadium before 10am for a match that will kick off by 4pm.By 12noon.It was annouced that there no more space in the staduim either for standig or sitting.My popular side ticktet of three naira (#3.OO) not withstanding.I took a risk by following other football fanatic fans by climbing the floodlight pole and found myself at covered stand.People were being thrown from the top behind until wherever,Even military men in uniform suffered the same fate of hurling.My man of the match was Muda Lawal.

    Frm,UBA IGWE@Badagry.

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  11. My First Nation Cup memory was AIgeria 90,I remember that Nigeria were beaten 5 goals to 1 by host nation in the opening match.Oga Muminu I cried bitterly that night,but I was happy when I see my darling Green Eagle in the final, though they lost by a lone goal to the same Algeria.BUT I WAS VERY PROUD OF THEM.

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  12. Mr Mumini.your column today "SWEET ME" My ANC Account was MAROC 88..Nig vs Algeria game comes to mind in which Bright Omokaro 10--10 reduced her opponent to 10 men after Ademola Adesina was red-carded earlier for an offence he did not commit.. Nig had greats like Edoboh, Nwosu,Okosieme,Okwaraji,Sofoluwe,Keshi,Rufai,Eboigbe, Etal.. Peter Rufai is my boyhood hero whom I see week in week out way bark in Sharks fc of PH, then.. Mumini you go write soccer enter old age..Amen Somebody

    From Falomo Idowu,.
    Karis School Magodo Lagos.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My first nation's cup experience was Ghana/Nigeria 2000. Though we are not champion but we have a team of champion and that team makes me believe how champion and super our eagles was once were even as a JSS 2 student then. It was a memorable experience.

    Abdullahi 4rm Sagamu

    ReplyDelete
  14. Infact my first nation cup was 1988 when Mr Bassey brought me to lagos, i didn't know replay on tv so each time they replayed goal i counted as another one and argued it the following day with my friend ismaila who always called me a bush boy then.

    From Uwem

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  15. MY FIRST NATIONS CUP MEMORY WAS THAT 1980. I STILL REMEMBER ITWAS FEW MONTH INTO PRESIDENT SAGARI'S TENURE. I REMEMBER THE PRESIDENT WITH A WOODEN MATERIAL THAT MAKES NOISE WHEN D PRESIDENT WAVES IT.THAT WAS OUR OWN VUVUSELA. THEN I WAS DOING MY A LEVEL AT OGUN POLY.

    DR. KAYODE FALOLA,
    OSHODI

    ReplyDelete
  16. My first nations cup was in Marroc 88 where the Super Eagles got to the final only to painfully lose to bad officiating which gifted Cameroun their 2nd nations cup at the expenses of Nigeria. They will go on to win again (!) their 3rd nations cup at our expenses right in our own backyard due to a referee error in failing to see Victor Ikpeba's penalty crossed the line in the shoot out at Ghana/Nigeria 2000 Afcon final at the national Stadium in Surulere. Am glad they (Cameroun) did not qualify this time around because COINCIDENTALLY or by FATE, Cameroun WERE ABSENT ON THE TWO OCCASIONS Nigeria have emerged champions (1980 & 1994). While am still waiting on God to avenge us of unjustifiable losses to Cameroun (in 1988 & 2000 finals - their only genuine, well deserved win was in 1984 final), I encourage the Super Eagles to go all out by beating all comers to the title come February 10th. Afterall, 'our husband' is not 'at home'.

    Go Eagles!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nigerian Football team has finest players in the world - http://www.ngr24.com/

    ReplyDelete
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