In a few weeks, we will all be rooting for the Super Eagles in the 2019 edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCONS). So, how well do you the National team and the history.
After playing other colonies in unofficial games since the 1930s, Nigeria played its first official game in October 1949, while still a British colony. The team played warm-up games in England against various amateur teams including Bromley, Dulwich Hamlet, Bishop Auckland, and South Liverpool. The team’s first major success was a gold medal in the 2nd All-Africa games, with 3rd-place finishes in the 1976 and 1978African Cup of Nations to follow. In 1980, with players such as Segun Odegbami and Best Ogedegbe, the team, led by Christian Chukwu, won the Cup for the first time in Lagos. Nigeria Olympic men’s football team won the football event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, beating Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina in the process. They were runners-up in the same event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, losing to Argentina in a rematch of the 1996 event.
In 1984 and 1988, Nigeria reached the Cup of Nations final, losing both times to Cameroon. Three of the five African titles won by Cameroon have been won by defeating Nigeria. Missing out to Cameroon on many occasions has created an intense rivalry between both nations. Three notable occasions; narrowly losing out in the 1988 African Cup of Nations, qualifiers for the 1990 World Cup, and then the controversial final of the 2000 African Cup of Nations where a kick was taken by Victor Ikpeba during the penalty shoot-out was adjudged not to have crossed the goal-line by the referee.
Although sports have been an part of Nigerian society for centuries, they were little more than leisure activities. Prior to 1963, few athletes made an international impact, especially in football. According to Online Nigeria, the National Sports Commission was founded to lay the foundation for all sporting event organization in Nigeria. Though the Nigerian Football Federation already was a governing body, football in Nigeria was still confined to the African boundaries, rarely making appearances outside the continent. Championships were played among rival clubs from Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Calabar.
Kits and Crest
The Nigeria national team has traditionally used a mostly-solid green on green primary set with white numbering, lettering, and highlights; coupled with all-white reversed secondary kits, all emblematic of the colors of the Nigerian flag. The shade of green has varied over the years. An olive drab-tinged, forest green was often favored during the 1980s to the early 1990s, and jade has appeared in each of those decades as well; even harlequin has been used. Over the last decade, the team has appeared to settle on the more standard office Greenwich most closely resembles the shade used on the flag. Nigeria’s first national teams used a solid scarlet top over white shorts and socks until the country adopted its current colors after its independence.
Nigeria’s national team image has undergone much evolution throughout its history. Prior to independence, they were called the Red Devils due to their red-topped kits. The name was changed to the Green Eagles after independence in reference to the Nigerian state flag as well as the eagle which adorns the country’s coat of arms.
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During the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations, they were still called the Green Eagles, but following their controversial loss in the final, the team’s name was changed to the “Super Eagles”. Today, only the senior men’s national team uses the nickname. The women’s national team is called the “Super Falcons”, and Nigeria’s underage male teams are nicknamed the “Flying Eagles” & the “Golden Eaglets”.
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