5 Epic Moments That The Super Eagles Have Disappointed Nigerians

5 Epic Moments That The Super Eagles Have Disappointed Nigerians

In this article, FootballOrbit brings you the top 5 major moments that the Super Eagles have let Nigerians down.

In a country of different ethnic, tribal and religious groups, football has always unified Nigerians. The country’s national football team — known as the Super Eagles — have equally brought both joy and heartbreak to the hearts of Nigerians.

The nation’s best moments on the senior international football stage ranges from winning the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 1980,1994 and 2013 to reaching the FIFA World Cup knockout stages in 1994, 1998, 2014 and 2018, and winning the men’s Olympics men’s football gold medal in 1996 (mostly U-23s).

In this article, FootballOrbit brings you the top 5 major moments that the Super Eagles have let Nigerians down.

1. 1998 FIFA World Cup

Denmark vs Nigeria. France '98
Denmark scores against Nigeria at France ’98 (Getty Images)

The Eagles squad to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France comprised of players from the 1994 “golden generation” team and the Atlanta ’96 Olympic team. The likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Taribo West, Finidi George, Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh et al.

Nigeria were drawn in Group D alongside Spain, Bulgaria and Paraguay. The Super Eagles made the best possible start when they defeated the Spanish team that had the likes of Raul Gonzalez, Luis Enrique, Fernando Morientes and Fernando Hierro 3-2 in the opening match.

Qualification for the knockout stages was sealed with a 1-0 victory over Bulgaria in the second game.

In the Round of 16, Nigeria were handed Denmark and there were high expectations that the Eagles will seal a place in the quarterfinals for the first time in their history.

But Nigerians were stunned when the Danes won the game 4-1.

Years later, Taribo West — a member of the squad — revealed that the Super Eagles players underrated their opponents and even sneaked women into the team’s camp for sex a night before the match against Denmark.

2. 2006 World Cup Qualification

Before the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Nigeria had appeared at the global tournament three consecutive times after their debut in 1994.

Ahead of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, FIFA introduced the head-to-head rules and it will later become the Super Eagles’ undoing.

Nigeria were level on points with Angola in their qualification group but the Angolans qualified for the World Cup at the expense of the Eagles due to a superior head-to-head record.

3. FIFA World Cup 2010


Nigeria had fought hard to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They were drawn in the same group with Argentina, Greece and South Korea.

The Super Eagles lost the opening match 1-0 to Argentina. In the second game against Greece, they took the lead but a moment of madness from Sani Kaita saw the Eagles reduced to 10 men. The Greeks capitalised on the numerical advantage and won the match 2-1.

Still, Nigeria had a chance of progressing to the knockout stages with a victory over South Korea in the last group game. But in the 66th minute of the match, Yakubu Aiyegbeni inexplicably missed an open goal from just 4 yards out! — creating the most infamous moment in Nigeria’s World Cup history.

The game ended 2-2 and the South Koreans went through at Nigeria’s expense.

Back home in Nigeria, it was so painful that the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan suspended the national football team from international competition for two years.

That decision will only be reversed after threats of a counter-ban by FIFA.

4. 2021 AFCON

Tunisia players celebrating after defeating Nigeria at AFCON 2021
Tunisia players celebrating after eliminating Nigeria from AFCON 2021

On the eve of the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, the national team handler, Gernot Rohr, was sacked and ex-international Austin Eguavon was appointed as his replacement.

That decision seemed like a masterstroke as the Super Eagles were the only team that won all their group stage matches, defeating Egypt (1-0), Sudan (3-1) and Guinea Bissau (2-0).

Going into the knockout stages, there were lofty expectations that Nigeria will conquer Africa once again.

The stage was set……………

Tunisia — who came 3rd in their group and luckily qualified for the knockout stages as one of the best losers were the Eagles’ next opponents in the round of 16.

But the Super Eagles woefully disappointed Nigerians once again as they were defeated by Tunisia 1 goal to nil.

5. 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Fresh from the 2021 AFCON disappointment, the Super Eagles needed to make up for it by qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World in Qatar. They were handed the Black Stars of Ghana in the last qualifying round.

Both teams played out an horrible 0-0 draw at Kumasi and all Nigeria had to do in the 2nd leg was to secure a victory at home. But the Super Eagles put in an extremely lacklustre display that culminated in failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years.

The match ended 1-1, with Ghana going through on away goals rule.

A really low moment in Nigerian football history!!!

Fans were so frustrated by the latest disappointment that they angrily invaded the pitch after the match and caused mayhem. (watch the short video below)

DID YOU KNOW? In all Nigeria’s six appearances at the World Cup, it was only at France ’98 that they were not drawn with Argentina in the same group.

As a Nigerian football lover, at what other moments did the Super Eagles disappointed you? Kindly share your experiences by using the comment box below.