Will today’s Eagles differ from the past teams?

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Nigeria’s first appearance at the World Cup was in USA ’94. Nigerians still refer to the team as their best.

World football governing body classed them as the most entertaining side alongside winners, Brazil.

They arrived USA as Africa’s champions, having won the 1994 Nations Cup in Tunisia.

They had quality. They so possessed physical and entertaining attributes that fifa wrote Nigeria, commending their character and made inquiries on their nutrition and type of training. The team had a blistering pace.

Interestingly, it was Nigeria’s first time in the World Cup. The Eagles were superb in their first match, beating Bulgaria 3-0, losing to Argentina 1-2 and beating Greece 2-0 in the group matches to earn a second round berth. Italy were down by a lone goal scored by Emmanuel Amuneke before they equalised three minutes to full time and went on to beat Nigeria in extra time in a match Nigerians would not forget easily.

“We were three minutes away from victory, yet, victory was too far away,” cried Westerhof after the match. It was a popular quote of USA ’94.

A crisis situation in the Nigerian camp saw the team divided against itself before the match against Italy. Some of the players revolted against disciplinary measures by Westerhof and the team trained only once in four days before the match against Italy, little wonder they lost concentration in the dying minutes and conceded an equailser that meant end of the road for them. But for the crisis, the team could have probably won the match and gone further.

However, they showed such tremendous character and finesse that 20 years on Nigerians still rate them as their best team ever.

Nigeria’s World Cup squad 1994

1 GK Peter Rufai
2 DF Augustine Eguavoen
3 DF Benedict Iroha
4 DF Stephen Keshi
5 DF Uche Okechukwu
6 DF Chidi Nwanu
7 FW Finidi George
8 MD Oliha Thompson
9 FW Rashidi Yekini
10 MD Augustine Okocha
11 FW Emmanuel Amunike
12 MD Samson Siasia
13 DF Emeka Ezeugo
14 FW Daniel Amokachi
15 MD Sunday Oliseh
16 GK Alloysius Agu
17 FW Victor Ikpeba
18 FW Efan Ekoku
19 DF Michael Emenalo
20 FW Uche Okafor
21 MD Mutiu Adepoju
22 GK Wilfred Agbonavbare

Coach: Clemens Westerhof

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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