Four Memorable Nigerian National Football Teams’ Matches

Four Memorable Nigerian National Football Teams’ Matches

Nigerian national football teams have proven to be topsides in African nay world football in the past when the elements employed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the respective coaches in charge of the sides worked in tandem.

This has been evident in the nation’s football history as the actors involved masterminded
some of the best thrilling moments seen of an African team.


Even as the Super Eagles failed to live up to the billing at AFCON 2019 in Egypt, there were some sparks of brilliance from the Gernot’s team, which were the signs of that immense quality the team has been known for over the years.

With the future looking bright and Nigerians as expectant as
always, MARTINS OBIWELUOZO takes a look at some of the top moments in Nigerian football history.

Emmanuel Amuneke against Zambia in AFCON ’94 final

Nigeria 2-1 Zambia (1994 AFCON FINAL)

This remains a remarkable day in Nigerian football as the Super Eagles, coached by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof, clinched the nation’s second AFCON trophy in north African country, Tunisia, following the first title won on home soil in 1980

Nigeria won the match 2-1 thanks to Emmanuel Amuneke who scored twice to confound a resilient Chipolopolo of Zambia side in the final.

It was a frenetic game with expectation up in the atmosphere. Dignitaries from various parts of the continent stormed the El Menzah Stadium in Tunis on April 10 1994 for the AFCON Final.

The Zambian side, understandably, had the sympathy of the world to beat Nigeria. It would have been a perfect feat to mark the first year remembrance of Zambia national team players that perished in a plane crash on April 27, 1993.

A sympathetic world paid attention to the match, ostensibly to see how a ‘depleted’ Zambian side led by talented Kalusha Bwalya (who was alive as he wasn’t aboard the ill-fated Zambian Air Force aircraft) will fare against the
star-studded Super Eagles with Austin Okocha, Augustine Eguaveon, Sunday Oliseh, Peter Rufai, Uche Okechukwu, among others in the mix.

However, the 1994 FIFA World Cup bound Super Eagles were too good to handle. Their class prevailed and Nigeria bagged a deserved second AFCON tile.



This is arguably Nigeria’s best moment in football history, for obvious reasons; the underdogs, the Dream Team, triumphed over a highly rated Brazilian side.

July 31 1996 is an important date to remember in the history of Nigerian football. It was a day the likes of Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo de Lima, Bebeto and co were shocked by the U-23 Olympic Eagles.

It was a game of inspiration for the Nigerian side as the trio of left-full-back Celestine Babayaro, Victor Ikpeba and Nwankwo Kanu inspired the side to a shock turnaround in against the Brazilians.

Also Read: Two Nigerian Legends That Abraham’s Goal, Showing In Chelsea Win Vs Barcelona Remind Us Of

Flavio Conceicao scored in the first minute of the match to give Brazil an early 1-0 lead. But the Jo Bonfrere’s lads fought back and the pressure on the opponent’s area had Roberto Carlos netting an own goal, and it was Nigeria 1-1 Brazil after 20 minutes.

Bebeto restored Brazil’s lead with his 28th minute goal, then Conceicao scored his second of the match in the 38th minute to make it 3-1.

At this point, most of the spectators at the Sanford Stadium Athens might have concurred that the Nigerians were indeed in for thorough spanking.

As at 77th minute – just 23 minutes until full-time, the scoreline was Nigeria 1-3 Brazil. But the U-23 Eagles refused to throw in the towel.

Victor Ikpeba reduced the deficit with a 78th minute goal. Kanu Nwankwo equalised in the 90th minute and grabbed the winner – a golden goal in the 94th minute. It ended Nigeria 4-3 Brazil, a monumental upset that reverberated across the world.

The rampant U-23 Eagles maintained that explosive form and beat another world football superpower Argentina 3-2 in the final to bag Africa’s first ever Olympic football gold medal.


Cameroon 1-2 Nigeria (2004 AFCON Quarterfinal)

The Super Eagles were up against their archrivals, Cameroon, in the quarterfinals of 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. The match was a nervy one heralded by high expectations from both camps who boasted of big-name players.

The Cameroon side was the dominant side against the Super Eagles at that time following
their impressive head-to-head record. Names like Rigobert Song and Patrick Mboma had always caused fear in the
Nigerian camp, including among the fans, but there was a twist on the pitch of Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet Monastir that faithful day – February 8, 2004.

It was a memorable day for Nigerian football as Austin Jay-Jay Okocha’s sublime freekick goal that cancelled out Samuel Eto’o Fils’ 42nd minute opener became a talk of the tournament.

Okocha’s goal gave the Eagles more impetus to press for the winner which John Utaka netted in the 73rd minute, and Nigerian fans stormed the streets to celebrate a massive victory.


Nigeria 3-0 Mexico (2013 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP FINAL)

Nigeria’s U17s, the Golden Eaglets were outstanding in 2013 in the UAE as they went all the way to win the country’s fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup title.

The coach Manu Garba’s team pipped Mexico 3-0 inside the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on November 8, 2013. Kelechi Iheanacho doubled Nigeria’s lead in the 56th minute after Mexico’s Erick Aguirre netted an own goal in the 9th minute. Musa Mohammed scored the third goal in the 81st minute.

It came at a time Nigerian football needed redemption to appease the
fans following some poor showing from the nation’s national teams in recent times.

With the Super Eagles winning the AFCON 2013 in South Africa earlier in the year, it proved
to be a massive return for the Golden Eagles led by
enterprising defender and captain Musa Mohammed.

That victory in the UAE brought smiles back on the faces of the soccer-loving Nigerians while also attracting the interest of European clubs for the young players.

The Eaglets’ success was marked by the famous ‘yes-yes goal celebration’ from Kelechi Iheanacho who won the Golden Ball of the tournament.

The world once again saw a glimpse of what Nigerian football was capable of producing. The enterprising young talents played with so much panache, causing the oppositions problems in the final third.



Dear reader, the above piece is a teaser for you to have your say on the topic. Let’s make it a lively conversation.

Do you have a different opinion – a match you believe ranks high among the best ever played by any Nigerian national football team?

Use the ‘Leave a Reply’ field at the base of this article to have your say.

Copyright © 2022 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.


  • Ibrahim 4 years ago

    I agree only with the brazil nigeria pick. My top 4 most memorable Nigerian matches are Nig 4 vs Ussr 4(U20) – Saudi 89, Nig 2 vs Cote’d’voire 2 – Tunisia 94, Nig 4 vs Brazil 3 -Atlanta 96, Nigeria 3 vs Spain 2 – France 98. These nailbiting matches showed Nigeria’s resilience and die hard spirit.

  • Olumide 4 years ago

    I thought you should have included the win against Senegal at the Nigeria/Ghana 2000 Africa cup of Nations, it was almost an impossible mission trailing by a goal to a determined Senegal side with some minutes left to play, Julius Aghaowa coming to our rescue!

  • O'Billy Pam'Pam. 4 years ago

    Well, I think these are the memorable ones to you.What will you say of the miracle of Damman,the ’85 eaglet or those of ’93,the Nigeria vs Bulgeria ’94 world cup,the ’87 Flying Eagles vs Etheopia away match?The list can go on and on.

  • Ayodele 4 years ago

    Nigeria’s first ever 3-0 win against Bulgaria at the USA 94 world cup is my No 1, followed by the 0-4 spanking of Sudan away enroute 2002 world cup and of course the 2-1 win against Zambia at Tunisia 94 final.

  • Omo9ja 4 years ago

    Good achievements from our great teams. Ask yourselves what do have left over now, we have no team we can be proud of. No pattern, no good goalkeepers and realiable coaching staffs.

    Is there any way forward with this our Super Eagles? Yes with good coaches and right people in the NFF board members, we are good to go again. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Who compiled these so-called ‘memorable’ moments? How many fans did you get their views? Does CS even edit some of these personal opinions and often badly-written views brandished as reports? The other day, a writer/reporter (most likely another newbie, like this one) tried to do a review of Rohr’s 3-year tenure as SE manager, and that report was also ridiculously and blatantly coloured with jaundiced personal views that do not represent the majority opinion. And I wonder, does Oga Mumini or Amosu even edit or read through these kinds of stuff before someone hits the ‘publish’ button?

    Imagine mentioning 2013 U17 win and failing to talk about the more recent 2015 one? How many of the 2013 set graduated to the SE, oga writer? Compare it with the 2015 and think again about which you should have included in your list if you had to pick one.

    What about the Senegal/Nigeria last-ditch win in 2000? The 2013 SE semi-final triumph against a Didier Drogba-captained side? The many USA 1994 exploits, including the matches we lost (like against Italy), or the friendly against England, post-USA 1994? the first senior world cup match in which we trounced Bulgaria 3-0 and the football world fell in love with the Super Eagles?

    How about the SiaSia-coached U20 team at Holland 2005 Fifa World Cup that bulldozed its way to the final, only to narrowly lose to a young Lionel Messi-captained Argentina in the final? Mr. writer, did you even see that sublime Chinedu Ogbuke flying header equaliser? How many will I count? And the entire history of great matches even Nigerian teams, you throw up these 5? You’re kidding, right?

    Besides the Atlanta 96 match you mentioned, the rest 3 MOST DEFINITELY don’t belong in the category of memorable Nigerian football teams matches. IT’S SIMPLY A HIGHLY FLAWED VIEW. Maybe in the top 10, but certainly not in the top 4. Chairman, do your research well before writing and publishing. Better still, sample opinions or ask around from long-term die-hard fans about which Nigerian team matches gave them the greatest joy.

  • @Kel, he did an introduction and threw the floor open.
    Mention your own memorable matches; the ones you watched not the ones you read about or watched on YouTube.
    Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
    Every one is entitled to his/her opinion.

    • Watched on YouTube? Read about them? Lol. I watched everything live on the days played. I can roll back as far as the 1985 U16 win against Germany. Nothing on YouTube. In fact, I remember huddling with older people at a public space at night to during Saudi 89 on black and white TV back then, watching Ohenhen, Mutiu Adepoju & co in the U20 team in the nail-biting match against the defunct USSR.

      And no, the writer didn’t throw the floor open. Let me quote the intro again: “MARTINS OBIWELUOZO takes a look at some of the top moments in Nigerian football history.”

      Your view up there is an opinion. Mine is an opinion too. And like you rightly said, everyone is entitled to one. But the writer’s view is not necessarily an ‘opinion.’ It’s a report. It sets the tone for public discourse and assumes an element of authority. In media writing, there are different categories of pieces: 1. Report. 2. Editorial 3. Features 4. Op-Ed (like Dele Momodu’s ‘Pendulum’ in ThisDay backpage or Segun Odegbami’s ‘Mathematical.’ Those are opinions and they clearly headlines/categorized so. A report -like the above – is not an option. It is a ‘Report,’ supposedly borne out of research and facts. And they can be questioned if they seemed glaringly flawed or incorrect. There are differences. I know them like the back of my hand.

      I have taken my time to explain these things, but in part also to give you needed implied answers to some of your implied queries.

  • @Kel, the point is that your opinion is offensive to another person. The writer opened the floor after stating his opinion. The writer did not say his opinion was absolute or the final. But by the time you wanted to say your opinion, you started by attacking the writer unfairly. I have lots for your contributions which are spot on most of the time, but this particular one sounds too harsh and subjective

    • #lots of respect

      • I get your point @Debo. What I was trying to drive home is that if a writer or reporter brought this to me, I won’t publish or I’ll ask for a rewrite with a new list of ‘memories’ to work on before editing and approving for publication. Editing shouldn’t just be for grammar, structure and flow of the piece, but also for solid facts and figures. But thanks all the same. I get you. #Appreciated.

        • ADDENDUM: I just saw a ‘Have Your Say’ at the end of the story (tucked away at the bottom). I thought they said it was an intro cos I’d been looking for it since. I guess I stopped initially at the last bit of ‘memories’ itemized by the writer. This new knowledge thus punctures my ‘rants,’ as the writer already added a caveat – albeeit inconspicuous. My apologies. But I still disagree with majority of his submissions. Cheers everyone.

          • Thanks. I love reading some people’s posts here and you are one of them. That was why I commented on the post. I will not comment on some people’s posts in a similar situation to avoid anyone raining curses on me (lol!). Thanks for the positive response as always.

  • Pompei 4 years ago

    Incredible memories. Our win over Brazil in the 1996 Olympics almost cost me my sanity. I was out on the street all night, celebrating with friends and neighbours. We partied nonstop! Kanu and co. brought great joy to all Nigerians that day. It is definitely one of the best matches we have ever played. Of course, there are other matches worthy of mention. As someone said, the MIRACLE OF DAMMAN in 1989 is one of those. Coming back from 4 goals down against the then USSR to win the game is a feat that is yet to be duplicated in FIFA organized competition. Chris Ohenhen, Sam Elijah and Nduka Ugbade grabbed the goals that made the impossible possible. Breath taking game that was! How about the 2 nil defeat of Germany in 1985 that bagged Nigeria and Africa her first world cup of any kind? Goals from Jonathan Akpoborie and Victor Igbinoba ended German aspirations, culminating in Nduka Ugbade lifting the cup. How about the away win against Algeria in a WC qualifier in 2005? Names like Obafemi Martins, John Utaka, Makinwa, and Christian Obodo found the net to hand Nigeria a memorable 5-2 win. Still remember the shell shocked look on the faces of Algerian fans that day! One that also comes to mind, a special one indeed, was the 3-2 defeat of Spain in 1998. Spain of course were the favourites, but Nigeria did not get that memo. The winning goal, an INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE by Sunday Oliseh, still lives in the memory of many Nigeria fans. What a game that was! Also worthy of mention is the 2-1 defeat of a mighty Cote D’Ivoire side in the 2013 Afcon. All the pundits had written us off. Again, Nigeria refused to buckle. Emenike’s freekick went screaming into the net like an enraged banshee to open scoring, and Sunday Mba restored Nigeria’s lead with what ended up being the winning goal after Cheick Tiote headed equalizer. Pulsating game. Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and co. could not save Cote D’Ivoire on that day.
    What Nigeria has achieved in football is indeed remarkable. A long, long list of great performances. And with the current team lies the potential for even more great performances in the future!

  • Ochuke 4 years ago

    Please, we should read properly before we start critising somebody’s work. The writer gave his own view and threw the floor open for others to give theirs. If i could go throw the writer’s mind, i deduce he wants to know how many of these great matches nigerians can remember. One love

  • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

    Hehehehehe……..One day, someone will write an article on the 4 best SE strikers of all time and then he will list:
    Haruna Ilerika.
    Dominic Iorfa.
    Patrick Pascal.
    Benedict Akwuegbu.

    4 Memorable matches and no Nig vs Algeria (3-0 1980 Afcon final), Nig vs Cameroon (1-3 1988 Afcon Final), No NIg vs W.Germany (2-0 1985 U17 WC fianl), no Damman Miracle, No Algeria vs Nigeria (1-1 1994 WCQ), No Nig vs Bulgaria (1994 WC), No Nigeria vs Senegal (2000 Afcon), No Nig vs Cameroun (2000 – Afcon final), No Sudan vs Nigeria (0-4 2002 WCQ), No Nig vs Cameroon (4-0 2018 WCQ), No Nig vs CIV (2008 Olympics Qfinal), Nig vs CIV (2013 afcon Qfinal) or even NIg vs Germany (3-3 2009 U17 WC)…..!!!

    For the female teams…Nig vs Brazil (3-4 1999 WC qfianls), Nig vs Japan (1-0 2004 olympic games), Nig vs Germany (1-2 2004 olympics qfinals), Nig vs Cameroon (5-0 2004 AWCON final – Perpetua Nkwocha netting 4 goals and one of the best free kicks i’ve ever seen a Nigerian footballer take)

    CSN with its blowing hot & cold…e be like say dem just recruit some new interns..LMAO…!

  • Kel, I don’t see anything remotely wrong with the piece. Such a piece could never be a report, rather it is a nostalgic feature article.

    And, the writer quite rightly said: “MARTINS OBIWELUOZO takes a look at SOME of the top moments in Nigerian football history”.

    Indeed, the matches he selected were ‘some’ of the memorable matches in our football history (arranged in no specific chronological order).

    Now, I think where the editor got it wrong was the category of the finished article. They could have presented it under ‘Features’ rather than under ‘Nigeria National Teams’; but even criticising it from that premise will be pedantic (in my humble opinion).

    Whilst the matches he chose are definitely not among my top 4, the article nonetheless was a fine one which the writer can be proud of.

    • Wow, the article now appears under the category ‘Features’. It initially appeared under ‘Nigeria National Teams’

      Was CSN reading my contribution?

  • For me the four most memorable would be the first time we won AFCON in 1980. I watched that match live on TV and the ground shook with the cheers in the neighborhood for every goal that went in Nigeria 3 – 0 Algeria

    Our world cup debut match in 1994, again watched live on TV Nigeria 3-0 Bulgaria, the Yekini moment, the Amuneke “do or die goal”, the Amokachi poach.

    Of course “when Nigeria beat Brazil” 1996 Olympic semi final golden goal match. Brazil 3-1 up until late in the game. A Victor Ikpeba rasping shot and a moment of magic by Kanu in the 90th minute to draw.

    Finally the world cup match in 1998 against Spain when we beat them 3-2. Oliseh’s wonder strike is still etched in everyone’s memory.

    As a bonus, the miracle of Damman, in 1989 when Nigeria were losing 4-0 against Russia and came back to 4-4 in the second half. I listened to the comeback on radio in far away Kainji (New Bussa).

    Choosing just four matches is impossible

  • Glory 4 years ago

    Reading some write ups, tells these three things:1) when writer started watching football,2) whether they ever kicked football, n 3) the ones that have been brainwashed by English premiership. So with this in mind, it becomes almost a paid job to give a response. Reason I commend Drey,Deo, Alphillygreat n others for their efforts.

  • Mr Hush 4 years ago

    For me,
    A great editorial;
    The writer has successfully played on the nostalgic feeling of most Nigerians, knowing fully well that this piece would get us talking,and such talk would keep going on for the simple reason that;
    1. Nigerians are football fanatics, we do Know football,even if we don’t ,we enjoy talking about it.
    2.Nigerians love their national teams
    3.and being a football nation,there are a lot of memorable matches,so it would be hard to give a definite number of most memorable matches; this list could be ’20 memorable matches’ yet remains incomplete.
    4.memories are subject to perception; what you deem memorable might be a nightmare for the other. So on this,I believe the writer intuition was basically to get the fans writing,talking and having that nostalgic feeling that is Central to their own thoughts .these four is for the writer..

    For what’s worth, what a feeling to know that Nigeria is such a great footballing nation that we got a lot of memorable matches to look back to,heck,we just created some at this concluded afcon ; hopefully,( and I am sure of it),we create more going forward..

    It is just a good feeling..

  • _Four Memorable Super Eagles Matches_

    Thanks Martin. Here are my four memorable matches however I have restricted mine to the Super Eagles:

    1. Nigeria vs Argentina 2010: The Super Eagles had a poor world cup by previous standards in 2010 but the opening 0:1 against Argentina in our opening match stays in my memory for right reasons.

    Why memorable? : Although we lost, Enyeama produced a masterclass in goalkeeping, repelling Messi and others time and time again with breath-taking saves. Never before then and after have I seen has a Nigerian goalkeeper single-handedly help us maintain a respectable score line.

    2. Nigeria vs Cameroon 2017: If the Super Eagles had failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, it would have been understandable owing to the calibre of teams we had in our group.

    However, after we defeated Cameroon 4:0 in Uyo, I began to dream of endless possibilities!

    Why memorable? : To defeat Cameroon is always memorable because of the manner in which they dubiously robbed us of Afcon gold on at least 2 occasions. But, to wipe them on the floor with such an emphatic 4 goals margin in a crucial world cup qualifier was simply mad!

    3.Nigeria vs Morocco (2014 Chan): How Keshi’s boys failed to win the 2014 Chan remains a mystery to me: Uzoenyi and co played some of the most scintillating brand of football ever played by any home-based Super Eagles set up before and after with their 4:3 quarter final victory against Morocco underscoring that point.

    Why memorable? : Morocco raced to a 3:0 victory in this match as it was all but certain that we would crash out to what was a superior opposition.

    But, in a chain of events that resurrected the spirits of the Damman miracle of 1989, the home based Super Eagles fought back in emphatic fashion to draw level and finish off the Moroccans in the most brutal of fashions as the winning goal came deep in extra time!

    4. Nigeria vs South Africa 2000 Afcon: The late General Sani Abacha pulled us out of the 1996 Afcon which devastated the South Africans as they felt their victory of that year was not complete because of Nigeria’s absence hence they sought to set the records straight in Surulere when we met in an epic quarter final encounter.

    Why memorable? : South Africa of that term were a truly strong side. Names like Mark Fish, Lucas Radebe, Quintine Fortune, Eric Tinkler and Siyabonga Nomvete (a striker after my heart; I really liked this guy!) were indeed household names.

    However, in a move that set Jo Bonfrere apart as a tactical genius, he set up the Super Eagles and selected a squad that would take maximum advantage of the frailties of the South African defence.

    It ended up being the Tijani Babangida show as his pace and pristine finishes settled it once and for all that we are better than South Africa.

    In the words of Fela: Me (Super Eagles) and you (Bafana Bafana) no dey for the same category!”