Nigeria Football: the Past, the Present and the Future

Ah, Football, Nigeria pastime! It’s a sport that inspires nostalgia of 'the good old days.' And fans of every age have their own story to tell. 

My father played with Marine FC and was called up several times to the Red Devil – that was the name of Nigeria national team then. I mean the team that toured UK and played Nigeria's first set of International matches in 1949.

It was when Men were Men and football was not played by ‘Sisi.’ My father always brag and talk about legends like 'Thunder Balogun,' Dan Anyaim and such mysterious goalkeepers like the Flying Monkey, Onaguruwa, Sam Ibiam … He told me a lot of story about the fierce rivalry between Marine FC and Railway FC; how thousands of fans thronged the Railway playground at Ebute Metta anytime these teams meet..

While growing up, I heard about what I might call the most famous rivalry of the 70s’ between IICC Shooting Stars and Enugu Rangers. I remembered one incident when my elder brother and his friends had to leave Lagos a day before to Ibadan to watch the match. I heard the stadium got filled up to capacity before 10am in the morning for a match that would be played by 4pm.

The High-point those days was when Green Eagles, Nigeria national team, won African nations cup for the first time in 1980. The whole of Lagos went wild with celebrations and partying for over a week. Just when we felt that we have arrived, came the anti-climax in 1981, when Godwin Odiye headed a flip back that went pass Emmanuel Okala; and it became an own goal that cost Nigeria its qualification for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. The whole country went into mourning for months.

A Decade after, Nigeria football moved into a ‘golden era’ and arise a Super Eagles team that won both African Cup of Nations and participated for the first time at FIFA World Cup in US’94. The team put up such an impressive performance and became the first African team to be ranked 4th  in  FIFA World Rankings till date.

In 1996, Nigeria made another world football statement by winning Gold Medal in the Olympics men soccer event, after defeating a star studded Brazilian side at the Semi Final and Argentina at the finals.

But as the millennium came, Nigeria slipped back into another period of doldrum. Now complicated by the evolution of Cable TV, which drifted away most Nigerian fans from following local football to assume an unprecedented passion for English Premiership as well as other major leagues in Europe. So football moved away from the stadium to viewing centers across the country.

No thanks to the chronic leadership tussle at the football association level and massive corruption that followed, which led  to home win syndrome, boardroom points, hooliganism and insecurity at most stadium arenas…. 

Of Course, a revival was needed urgently as world football continue to evolve so fast, largely influenced by the Internet and digital technology.  

 Fans culture made a paradise shift towards social media, large data analytic and the use of GPS as well as other digital technology to train future players. 

Question: Would Nigeria football industry be left behind?

Understanding football evolution and trends in Nigeria – the past, the present and the future; will make you an all rounder and better disposed to make right decisions concerning football matters in the country. 

This is the reason we recommend that you regularly visit “Cheer on Nigeria Blog.” What it has to offer will make you feel proudly Nigeria. 

Check out some of its Recent Posts, the Featured Posts, and of course, the Memory lane… you’ll be greatly inspired with nostalgia. Check out the home page now and don’t forget to "like" our Facebook page at the sidebar. Click:

No comments

Powered by Blogger.