The 1990s

The 1990s were Nigeria’s most successful decade to date. It was the decade the Green Eagles became the Super Eagles as the team forged a world wide reputation.

The foundations were laid in 1989 with the appointment Of Clemens Westerhof as the new coach.
 
Westerhof was partly aided by the extraordinary, by Nigerian standards, length of his tenure. Single-minded, he survived in the hottest of seats for five years. During this time he aided the influx of Nigerian players into Belgium and Holland, clamped down on discipline, improved player welfare, and improved the quality of play through his coaching.

In 1990 Nigeria got to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, losing by a single goal to Algeria in the final. Not many would have thought this possible after losing the first group game 1-5 to Algeria.

The 1992 finals in Senegal brought a third place finish and Rashidi Yekini finished top scorer with four goals.

The Green Eagles became Super when they qualified for the 1994 World Cup. They were in a difficult group in the USA with Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria but they qualified and were only 90 seconds fro putting out Italy in the second round before the Italians won 2-1 in extra time.

It was a performance that had been given the perfect confidence booster with a second Nations Cup victory in the 1994 finals in Tunisia. Nigeria had entered the tournament as favourites and with Yekini again the top scorer and player of the tournament they defeated Zambia 2-1 in the final.

Politics meant that was their last Nations Cup appearance as a government dispute with South Africa saw them withdrawn from the 1996 finals and they were subsequently banned from the 1998 tournament.

The tournament Nigerians might recall most fondly is the 1996 Olympics. The team beat Argentina and Brazil in the knockout phase with some of the most exciting and dramatic football seen in any tournament.

It was the youth of the Olympic team that formed the backbone of the Super Eagles that qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France. The team got to the second round but hit the buffers somewhat unexpectedly with a 1-4 defeat against Denmark in a match they had expected to win.

 

 

the early years 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000 2010

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Login Form

ITPSocialButtons

Share this post

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn