Nigeria has traditionally held a special place in Africa football, holding the hope of Africa’s success in the World Cup but recent years have diminished that hope.
The Super Eagles as the Nigeria national football team is referred to have always been reach with exceptional talent but have performed minimally as a team in many international competitions, although they have been traditional qualifiers for the World Cup finals.
Many Nigeria fans will love to remember their exploits at USA 94, where they dismantled eventual semi-finalists Bulgaria 3-0 in their first match before going on to cruelly fall 2-1 against Italy in the second round. A similarly quick start in 1998 – they stunned Spain 3-2 in one of the matches of the tournament to start and beat Bulgaria again 1-0 – gave way to another second round defeat, this time a disheartening thumping at the hands of Denmark 4-1. But the Nigeria Team of today has no Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba, Jay-Jay Okocha, Finidi George, Celestine Babayaro, Omokocha or the Nwanko Kanu at his prime.
“We know that we will have a tough job at the World Cup. We are up against some tough teams like Argentina, with top players like [Lionel] Messi. It’s important for us to prove that we can play our own game against the best,” says Nigeria forward Chinedu Obasi.
The current Nigeria team is not short on talent, but their near failure to qualify for South Africa 2010 will give them less pressure as they look to get out of their Group B where they entertain Argentina on Saturday and later Korea Republic and Greece.
Star players of Nigeria national Football team at 2010 World Cup
Even without the big names of the 90s, the Super Eagles have the ability to score a lot of goals in South Africa behind a pacy, dynamic attack that features the likes of Obafemi Martins, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Peter Odemwingie as well as youngsters Victor Obinna and Ikechukwu Uche and evergreen Nwankwo Kanu in what is surely his last role of the dice. They won’t be a soft touch behind that either, with Jon Obi Mikel anchoring the midfield, and captain Joseph Yobo in the centre of defence.
• Nigeria’s 3-0 waltz over Bulgaria in their USA 94 debut match was more remarkable given that the Europeans went on to beat Greece, Argentina, Mexico and Germany in the tournament.
• Since Clemens Westerhof built the 1994 side and left the Super Eagles, the team has been coached by such well-known European journeymen as Jo Bonfrere, Philippe Troussier, Bora Milutinovic and Berti Vogts.
• Nigeria have a rich history at other worldwide tournaments, having won the 1985, 1993 and 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup as well as the 1996 Olympic Football Tournament.
Nigeria National Football Team Squad at 2010 FIFA World Cup
|Nr.||Name||Date of Birth||Position||Clubs||Height|
|1||Vincent ENYEAMA||29/08/1982||GK||Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR)||185|
|2||Joseph YOBO||06/09/1980||DF||Everton (ENG)||185|
|3||Taye TAIWO||16/04/1985||DF||Marseille (FRA)||188|
|4||Nwankwo KANU||01/08/1976||MF||Portsmouth (ENG)||197|
|5||Rabiu AFOLABI||18/04/1980||DF||Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)||183|
|6||Danny SHITTU||02/09/1980||DF||Bolton Wanderers (ENG)||190|
|7||John UTAKA||08/01/1982||FW||Portsmouth (ENG)||179|
|8||Yakubu AIYEGBENI||22/11/1982||FW||Everton (ENG)||188|
|9||Obafemi MARTINS||28/10/1984||FW||Wolfsburg (GER)||170|
|10||Brown IDEYE||10/10/1988||FW||Sochaux (FRA)||180|
|11||Peter ODEMWINGIE||15/07/1981||FW||Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS)||181|
|12||Kalu UCHE||15/11/1982||MF||Almeria (ESP)||171|
|13||Yussuf AYILA||04/11/1984||MF||Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)||179|
|14||Sani KAITA||02/05/1986||MF||Alania Vladikavkaz (RUS)||180|
|15||Lukman HARUNA||04/12/1990||MF||Monaco (FRA)||177|
|16||Austin EJIDE||08/04/1984||GK||Hapoel Petah Tikva (ISR)||186|
|17||Chidi ODIAH||17/12/1983||DF||CSKA Moscow (RUS)||181|
|18||Victor OBINNA||25/03/1987||FW||Malaga (ESP)||178|
|19||Chinedu OGBUKE OBASI||01/06/1986||FW||Hoffenheim (GER)||181|
|20||Dickson ETUHU||08/06/1982||MF||Fulham (ENG)||191|
|21||Uwa ECHIEJILE||20/01/1988||DF||Rennes (FRA)||198|
|22||Dele ADELEYE||25/12/1988||DF||Sparta Rotterdam (NED)||189|
|23||Dele AIYENUGBA||20/11/1983||GK||Bnei Yehuda (ISR)||186|
Coach: Lars LAGERBACK (SWE)