Today Marks 39th Year Anniversary Of Nigeria’s First AFCON Trophy
Super Eagles are preparing for the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt but many have forgotten that today (March 22nd) marks the 39th year Nigeria broke the jinx of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and made history by winning it in front of 85,000 football fans inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos including Late President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari. Nigeria has since won the trophy twice after the 1980 feat in Tunisia ’94 and South Africa 2013. We pray and hope the fourth trophy comes from the team’s outing in Egypt.
According to jersey numbers….Best Ogedegbe, David Adiele, Okey Isima, Muda Lawal, Christian Chukwu, Tunde Bamidele, Segun Odegbami, Aloysius Atuegbu, Felix Owolabi, Godwin Odiye, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Moses Effiong, Emmanuel Okala, Sylvanus Okpala, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Martin Eyo, John Orlando, Shefiu Mohammed, Charles Bassey, Henry Nwosu, Franck Onwuachi and Kadiri Ikhana…..Otto Gloria (coach)
LINE-UP AGAINST ALGERIA
Best Ogedegbe, David Adiele, Christian Chukwu, Tunde Bamidele, Alloysius Atuegbu, Godwin Odiye, Felix Owolabi, Okey Isima, Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Adokiye Amiesimaka
Kadiri Ikhana, Moses Effiong, Emmanuel Okala, Sylvanus Okpala, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Martin Eyo, John Orlando, Shefiu Mohammed, Charles Bassey, Henry Nwosu, Franck Onwuachi
GOALS AGAINST ALGERIA
Segun Odegbami scored the first goal in the 2nd minute. He added another in the 42nd minute while Muda Lawal made it three in the 50th minute
YOUNGEST MEMBER OF THE SQUAD
Henry Nwosu was the youngest member of the squad. He was 16. Born September 7, 1963. Sylvanus Okpala was 18 and John Orlando was 19 respectively.
OLDEST MEMBER OF THE SQUAD
Team captain, Christian Chukwu was the oldest member of the triumphant 1980 squad of Green Eagles. “Chairman” as he is fondly called on account of how he marshalled the defence line and commanded the rest of the team. He was 29. He was born January 4, 1951.
Emmanuel Okala and Kadiri Ikhana were the two older players after Chukwu. They were both 28. Okala was born May 17, 1951 while Ikhana was born December 31, 1951. Segun Odegbami was the fourth oldest in age. He was 27 then. He was born August 27, 1952.
EAGLES’ SCORERS IN THE TOURNEY
Goal scoring responsibility was evenly spread in the team as five players….Muda Lawal, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Segun Odegbami, Okey Isima, and Felix Owolabi bagged the eight goals the team scored in the five games played in Lagos.
Almost all the Green Eagles players were nicknmaed by the indegfatible ace broadcaster of blessed memories, Ernest Okonkwo. He nicknamed Best Ogedegbe BEST. Emmanuel Okala is MAN MOUNTAIN, Christian Chukwu as CHAIRMAN, Segun Odegbami as MATHEMATICAL. Muda Lawal was MAESTRO, Aloysius Atuegbu was BLOCKBUSTER, Felix Owolabi is OWO-BLOW, Adokiye Amiesimaka is CHIEF JUSTICE, Henry Nwosu is GOLDEN BOY, Ifeanyi Onyedika is STYLISH….and so on.
Out of the 22 Green Eagles squad members who did Nigeria proud on this day March 22, 1980, six have passed on.
They are Best Ogedegbe, Okey Isima, Muda Lawal, Tunde Bamidele, Aloysius Atuegbu and Martin Eyo. May the gentle souls of these departed heroes/Eagles rest in peace, Amen!
(GK1) Mehdi Cerbah (RB)Chaabane Merzekane (CB) Abdelkader Horr (CB) Mohamed Khedis (LB) Mustapha Kouici (MF) Bouzid Mahyouz (MF) Ali Fergani (MF) Lakhdar Belloumi (FW) Salah Assad (FW) Tedj Bensaoula (FW) Hocine Benmiloudi
GK Abderrazak Harb (DF) Abderrahmane Derouaz (DF) Mahmoud Guendouz (DF) Salah Larbès (MF) Mohamed Ouamar Ghrib (FW) Redouane Guemri (FW11) Rabah Madjer (FW) Smaïl Slimani
ALGERIA TERRIFIC TRIO
Three players in the Algerian squad who were threats to the Green Eagles coming into this final game on account of their outstanding performance in the group games were skipper Ali Fergani who operated from the midfield and his creative but deadlier pair Lakhdar Belloumi. There was also the left wing wizard Rabah Madjer who started this crucial encounter from the bench.
The centre referee was Gebreyesus Tesfaye….from Ethiopia.