The moments that really moved football consumers came with shock, disappointments and mournful sadness... But then the sudden turn around towards the ending of the year ignited such passion for joy... It was like fans having the last laugh after all.
It all started with:
1. Sunday Oliseh's Resignation as Super Eagles Head Coach. Indeed was a shocker to many football fans, but not to some of us who knew the attitudinal disposition of the former Super Eagles captain and circumstances surrounding his appointment as head coach of Super Eagles.
He didn't turn out to be Pep Guardiola after all, with not too impressive results and his non-availability for the job due to reoccurring ill health... and NFF began their usual hide and seek game... wasn't giving adequate support to him and the national team any longer, which was the major reason he gave for his resignation.
2. Afcon Qualifier Nigeria Vs Egypt in Kaduna: Oliseh's resignation few weeks to the crucial afcon qualifier against Egypt got fans worried. Then, Samson Siasia was brought from U23 national team to play the rescueman.
The stadium was thrown open, free of charge for maximum fans support. Unaccountable number of spectators nearly collapsed the stadium. Super Eagles gave up the 1 - 0 lead, due to the Egyptian pressure and game ended in a disappointing 1 - 1 draw. The return leg at Alexandria saw Super Eagles lost 1 - 0 and couldn't qualify for afcon 2017. It was an anti-climax; very disappointing for the fans.
3. Nigeria's Free fall on Fifa World ranking: the spate of poor result from Super Eagles saw Nigeria going down and down on Fifa World Rankings ladder... to a lowest placed ever - 67th in the world and 12th in Africa.
It wasn't only the case of Super Eagles. The Golden Eaglets didn't even qualify to defend the Fifa U16 world cup they won back to back in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
The Flying Eagles didn't qualify either to represent Nigeria in Fifa U20 World cup. It also affected the women national team also. Flamingoes didn't qualify for U16 Women's World cup.
4. Stephen Keshi and Shaibu Amodu's sudden death was a great tragic moment and a shocker to the football community globally ~. Keshi died of a heart attack and in few weeks Amodu followed in not too clear medical ccircumstance.
There has been many insinuations surrounding both death, but none could be established.
Keshi was a great football icon...won Afcon as a player (captain) and as a coach. He played and captained several top teams around the world.
Shaibu also had an ununmatched pedigree as one of Nigeria's finest
indigenous coach... His records are there to speak for him anytime.
5. Dream team won Olympic Bronze Medal in Rio was the turn around Nigeria needed. As if both Nff and sports ministry wanted Samson Siasia to fail. They didn't support the team at all...Nff didn't step up to get the release of players Siasia wanted for the tournament.
The Dream team got stranded in USA and couldn't pay their hotel bills... Nigeria's team only arrived Rio five hours before their first match against Japan, which Nigeria eventually won.
It was a miracle that Siasia got something out of nothing. He managed the team all through, paying bills from his own purse and from players like Mikel Obi, who provided for the team. The dream team went on to win bronze medal...only runners up to Germany and Brazil respectively.
6. The controversy of whether it was better to appoint another indigenous coach or a foreign coach, raised so much dust ... what caliber of foreign coach to appoint?
The first appointment of the frenchman and his refusal of the job... finally the Appointment of Gorath Rohr, the German with a much lower credentials.
7. Rangers Vs El Kanemi Npfl final day match in Enugu was something else. Never before have we had so much interest on who wins Npfl title. Perhaps, because Rangers hasn't won the league for 32 years and the season presented a golden chance for them to finally top the league on the final day match. Over 58,000 spectators turn up to watch the match in a 30,000 capacity Nnamdi Azkiwe stadium. The whole of Enugu stood still.
8. The World cup qualifier Nigeria Vs Algeria in Uyo was another big game that attracted a lot of interest after Super Eagles won away game against Zambia 1 - 2...and Algeria parading some of Africa's finest stars in their team. Godswill Akpabio stadium was filled to capacity. Nigeria won the match 3 - 1 and celebrations that followed in Uyo was something else.
9. Super Falcons defeated Cameroon to win AWCON title for the 8th times. It was another celebrations for Nigeria's return to dominance of women football in Africa. The most interesting thing is that Super Falcons defeated the Cameroon Lioness 0 - 1 in front of a Monmouth home crowd in Yaounde. It was a sweet victory indeed and lot fans celebrated back in Nigeria.
10. Nigeria ffreestyler enters Guinness Book of Records: A Nigerian Chinedu Harrison, set a new World Record for distance traveled on a bicycle with a football on the head – 103.6 km.
In rare show of determination and skill, Chinedu was able to navigate the above distance with a ball placed on the center of his head...that puts him again in the Guinness Book of World Records.