Adeshina: My Absence Cost Nigeria 1988 AFCON Final Against Cameroon

Adeshina: My Absence Cost Nigeria 1988 AFCON Final Against Cameroon

Former Nigeria international Ademola Adeshina says his absence in the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations final in Morocco led to Nigeria’s defeat to Cameroon.

Adeshina was sent off in the semi-final clash between Nigeria and Algeria with six minutes left in the game.

Just two minutes after his dismissal Algeria equalised and drag the game into extra-time before Nigeria went on to win 9-8 on penalties.

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But in the final, Nigeria lost 1-0 to Cameroon following Emmanuel Kunde’s 55th minute penalty after Roger Miller was fouled inside the 18-yard box.

And reflecting on the 1988 final, the former Abiola Babes and Shooting Stars midfielder stated that his important role in the Eagles then would have led them to the title.

“If I’d played that final the game would have been different,” Adeshina said in a short video interview published on the Twitter handle of Kuli Kuli Football.

“Cameroon were so glad even Issa Hayatou (former CAF president) was so happy that I was out of the match because I was the key player and engine room then for Nigeria.

“If I’m playing Peter Rufai or any other keeper are always happy. Even late Stephen Keshi was always happy because I know how to organise, defend and also know how to attack.

“So I believe if I had played we would have won the match.”

The 63-year-old who is the current chairman of Osun United, represented Nigeria at three AFCONs in 1984, 1988 and 1990.

He also had a brief spell in Belgium with Sporting Lokeren.

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  • GLORY 23 hours ago

    No doubt Ademola Adesina was a very good player then, many seemed not to have taken note of then.

  • Very good player indeed. But his absence for not cost us the final match. We met an equally good camerounian team in the final. Eagles played so well. Okosieme, nwosu, Keshi, Humphrey edobor and the late Yekinni tried their best. I think what affected us so much in that competition was the absence of Samson Siasia in the tournament due to club engagement. The club did not release him. Before the tournament, Siasia was ahead if even Yekinni in our attack. He just did well in 1985 youth tournaments in Russia and was doing good for our attack before the nations cup in 1988.

    Another cause was that of Keshi. Keshi did not stay in the team throughout the tournament. In fact he only played the two matches we played against cameroun in the tournament. Another club issues. He flew in through his club’s jet for the two games. Keshi never really jelled with the team though he showed 69% of what he was capable of doing in the two matches.