E.I. Ihegwuruike

The 2018 FIFA World Cup that will be taking place from this week in the home of Vladimir Putin, Russia will never take place without the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they have taken care of all the stumbling blocks on their way by beating teams like Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.

NAIJAWATCHDOG promises that this article will not dwell on futuristic flimsy predictions, but rather on historical expository and existential facts and figures that eschewed all erroneously adopted positions of glory that doesn’t exist and reinvigorate all uncelebrated glory that has gone unnoticed as a result of lofty historical omissions in our documentary archives.

Nigeria and Nigerians had zero history in the world cup until 24years ago precisely 1994 in the United States of America. The world cup was 64 years old when Nigeria first participated in it and Nigeria as a country was 34 years old as at then. Participating in a tournament that is 30 years older than someone is not easy, but that did not stop the trailer load of positive expectations from Nigerians at home who believed that having conquered Africa for the second time in Tunisia 1994, it will not be that bad to compete at the world cup.

Take a look at these facts and figures: the world cup was 64 years old (1930-1994), Nigeria was 34 years old (1960-1994), the Dutch coach that was handling the eagles then, Clement Westerhof was 54 years old(1940-1994). What is so special about 4? Away from that, the coming of Westerhof in 1989 wasn’t far from when the team’s nickname was changed from Green Eagles to Super Eagles after they lost Morocco 1988 Nations Cup. The Dutch coach narrowly lost the qualification bid for Italy 1990 World Cup because he was recently appointed. But in 1994 he did it.

Do not be deceived by the joy and euphoria of those who saw when the Super Eagles qualified for their first world cup and believe it was so easy to qualify. It wasn’t easy at all as Nigeria’s first world cup tournament was gotten as a result of superior goal difference we had over Ivory Coast.

In 1992, Nigeria began its quest to qualify for her first-ever FIFA World Cup, which would be held in the United States two years later. Placed in a group with South Africa and Congo, Nigeria finished top of its group in the first round, winning 3 games and drawing 1, and did not concede a single goal in all 4 games.

For the second and final round, Nigeria was grouped with Ivory Coast and Algeria. The Super Eagles won 2 games, drew 1 and lost 1, and finished equal with Ivory Coast on points but advanced to the World Cup with a superior goal difference.


In the tournament proper, Nigeria was in Grpup-D. We played 4 matches, scored 7 goals and conceded 4 goals. Nigeria’s first world cup match was played on June 21 1994 in Cotton Bowl, Dallas under the officiating power of a Costarican referee, Rodrigo Badilla. The match was played in the presence of 44,132 spectators. Bulgaria was beaten 3-0 with goals from RasheedYekini, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amunike.

Nigeria’s first world cup goal was scored in that tournament by legendary RasheedYekini. It took Nigeria just 21 minutes of play to register her name in the score sheet of nations that have scored at the world cup. Amokachi made it 2 -0 at 43 minutes. In the second half precisely 55 minute, Emmanuel Amunike buried Bulgaria and Nigeria had her first 3 points in the FIFA World Cup. Don’t forget the date: 21 June 1994 Cotton Bowl, Dallas USA.

In the second match on June 25 at Foxborough, it was a bigger crowd, a bigger test and a bigger match. The game took place with 54,453 spectators watching referee Bo Karlsson of Sweden officiate the first world cup match between Argentina and Nigeria. The match was settled in the first half as Samson Siasia’s 8 minute goal was cancelled by the ever dribbling Claudio Caniggia in 21 minute and Caniggia later nailed the Super Eagles to their first defeat in the second match at the 28 minutes of that game.

The third game was at the same foxborough stadium with 53,001 spectators watching referee Leslie Mottram of Scotland officiate between Nigeria and Greece on the 30 June 1994. The Super Eagles won that one with 2 unreplied goals courtesy of Finidi George and Daniel Amokachi. Another interesting thing in this match was that the 2 goals came at additional times of either halves. Finidi scored in 45+2 minutes while Amokachi scored in the 90+5 minutes.

The journey ended on July 5, 1994 when 54,367 spectators gathered at the Foxborough stadium to watch referee Arturo Brizio Carter of Mexico take charge of the Super Eagles against the Azzuris of Italy led by Legendary coach ArrigoSacchi. EmmanuelAmunike scored in the 25 minutes, but Eagles couldn’t survive just 2 minutes of normal time as Legendary Roberto Baggio equalized in the 88 minute and nailed the Super Eagles during the extra time with penalty at 102 minutes.


The 1994 Squard: Head coach:  Clemens Westerhof

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Club
1 GK Peter Rufai 24 August 1963 (aged 30)  Go Ahead Eagles
2 DF Augustine Eguavoen 19 August 1965 (aged 28)  Kortrijk
3 DF Benedict Iroha 29 November 1969 (aged 24)  Vitesse
4 DF Stephen Keshi (c) 23 January 1962 (aged 32) Molenbeek
5 DF UcheOkechukwu 27 September 1967 (aged 26) Fenerbahçe
6 DF ChidiNwanu 1 January 1967 (aged 27) Anderlecht
7 MF Finidi George 15 April 1971 (aged 23)  Ajax
8 MF Thompson Oliha 4 October 1968 (aged 25)  Africa Sports
9 FW RashidiYekini 23 October 1963 (aged 30)  Vitória de Setúbal
10 MF Jay-Jay Okocha 14 August 1973 (aged 20) Eintracht Frankfurt
11 MF Emmanuel Amunike 25 December 1970 (aged 23) Zamalek
12 FW Samson Siasia 14 August 1967 (aged 26)  Nantes
13 DF EmekaEzeugo 16 December 1965 (aged 28) Budapest Honvéd
14 FW Daniel Amokachi 30 December 1972 (aged 21)  Club Brugge
15 MF Sunday Oliseh 14 September 1974 (aged 19)  FC Liège
16 GK AlloysiusAgu 12 July 1967 (aged 26)  FC Liège
17 FW Victor Ikpeba 12 June 1973 (aged 21) Monaco
18 FW EfanEkoku 8 June 1967 (aged 27) Norwich City
19 DF Michael Emenalo 14 July 1965 (aged 28) Eintracht Trier
20 DF UcheOkafor 8 August 1967 (aged 26) Hannover 96
21 MF MutiuAdepoju 22 December 1970 (aged 23)  Racing Santander
22 GK Wilfred Agbonavbare 5 October 1966 (aged 27)


In 1998 World Cup, Nigeria qualified with 13 points in a group that had Guinea, Kenya and Burkina Faso. The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) as was called then, used a French coach, Philippe Troussier to qualify and later sacked him for the experienced Serbian coach, Bora Milutinovic. Just like in 1994, Eagles were also in group D here again. They played Spain, Bulgaria and Paraguay.

On the 13 of June 1998, in the presence of 35,500 spectators at Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes France, Nigeria beat Spain 3-2 with referee EsfandiarBaharmast of USA as centre referee. Fernando Hierro gave Spain the lead in 21 minute. MutiuAdepoju equalized in 24 minute. Raul Gonzalez restored Spain’s lead in 47 minute. Goalkeeper AndoniZubizarreta scored an own goal to equalize for Nigeria in the 73 minute. Then came the goal that shook the foundation of the Stade de la Beaujoire in the 78 minute from the boot of Sunday Oliseh.

On the 19 of June 1998 under the watchful eyes of referee Mario Sanchez Yanten of Chile and before 45,500 spectators at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Victor Ikpeba scored the only goal in the 28 minute as Nigeria beat Bulgaria by that lone goal.

Pirom Un-prasert of Thailand on the 24 June 1998 stood as the referee before 33,500 fans at Stade de Toulouse in Toulouse as Paraguay led by their charismatic goalkeeper, Jose Chivalert thrashed Super Eagles 3-1 in the final group match after the Eagles had already qualified. CelsoAyala scored in the 1 minute. Wilson Oruma equalized in the 11 minute. Angel Benitez restored the lead in the 58 minute. Jose Cardozo nailed the Super Eagles in the 86 minute.

At the Stade de France in Saint Denis, 77,000 fans gathered to watch referee Urs Meier of Switzerland on the 28 of June 1998 officiate the Super Eagles’ last match in the tournament. Denmark led by Talismanic captain, Michael Laudrup and legendary goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel humiliated the Super Eagles out by 4-1. The goals came from Peter Møller in 3 minute, Brian Laudrup 12 minute, Ebba Sand 58 minute and Thomas Helveg 76 minute. TijaniBabangida gave Nigeria consolatory goal in the 77 minute.


Head coach:  Bora Milutinović

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Club
1 GK Peter Rufai 24 August 1963 (aged 34) Deportivo La Coruña
2 DF MobiOparaku 1 December 1976 (aged 21) Kapellen
3 DF Celestine Babayaro 29 August 1978 (aged 19) Chelsea
4 FW NwankwoKanu 1 August 1976 (aged 21)  Inter Milan
5 DF UcheOkechukwu(Captain) 27 September 1967 (aged 30) Fenerbahçe
6 DF Taribo West 26 March 1974 (aged 24)  Inter Milan
7 MF Finidi George 15 April 1971 (aged 27)  Real Betis
8 MF MutiuAdepoju 22 December 1970 (aged 27)  Real Sociedad
9 FW RashidiYekini 23 October 1963 (aged 34)  Zürich
10 MF Jay-Jay Okocha 14 August 1973 (aged 24) Fenerbahçe
11 MF GarbaLawal 22 May 1974 (aged 24)  Roda JC
12 GK William Okpara 7 May 1968 (aged 30) Orlando Pirates
13 MF TijjaniBabangida 25 September 1973 (aged 24)  Ajax
14 FW Daniel Amokachi 30 December 1972 (aged 25) Beşiktaş
15 MF Sunday Oliseh 14 September 1974 (aged 23)  Ajax
16 DF UcheOkafor 8 August 1967 (aged 30)  Kansas City Wizards
17 DF Augustine Eguavoen 19 August 1965 (aged 32) Torpedo Moscow
18 MF Wilson Oruma 30 December 1976 (aged 21)  Lens
19 DF Benedict Iroha 29 November 1969 (aged 28)  Elche
20 FW Victor Ikpeba 12 June 1973 (aged 24) Monaco
21 DF Godwin Okpara 20 September 1972 (aged 25) Strasbourg
22 GK AbiodunBaruwa 16 November 1974 (aged 23)  Sion



The 2002 World Cup was the 3rd one for the Super Eagles. The Super Eagles were placed in Group F with Argentina, Sweden and England. During the qualification stages, Nigeria was in Group-B that had teams like: Ghana, Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Lone. 8 matches were played and Nigeria qualified with 16 points leaving Liberia behind in 15 points.

On the 2nd of June, 34,050 spectators gathered at the Kashima Soccer Stadium in Ibaraki, Japan to watch the La-Albiceleste of Argentina gun down the Super Eagles of Nigeria under the watchful eyes of referee Gilles Veissiêre of France. It was 1-0 victory for Argentina with legendary Gabriel Batistuta doing the damage in the 63 minute. Rene Ortube of Bolivia was in the centre when 34,194 fans gathered at Wing
Stadium in Kobe, Japan on the 7th of June as Henrik Larsson and his Swedish team down the Super Eagles by 2-1. Nigeria took the lead through Julius Aghahowa in the 27 minute; Larson equalized in the 35 minute and scored the winner in the 63 minute via a penalty.

On the 12 of June at Nagai Stadium in Osaka Japan, 44,864 spectators gathered to watch Vincent Enyeama make his world cup debut against the Three Lions of England with Brian Hall of USA in the centre. Before the game, Eagles were already out of the tournament having lost two games.


Head coach: Festus AdeboyeOnigbinde

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Club
1 GK Ike Shorunmu 16 October 1967 (aged 34)  Lucerne
2 DF Joseph Yobo 6 September 1980 (aged 21)  Marseille
3 DF Celestine Babayaro 29 August 1978 (aged 23)  Chelsea
4 FW NwankwoKanu 1 August 1976 (aged 25)  Arsenal
5 DF Isaac Okoronkwo 1 May 1978 (aged 24)  Shakhtar Donetsk
6 DF Taribo West 26 March 1974 (aged 28)  1. FC Kaiserslautern
7 MF Pius Ikedia 11 July 1980 (aged 21)  Ajax
8 MF MutiuAdepoju 22 December 1970 (aged 31) Salamanca
9 FW Bartholomew Ogbeche 1 October 1984 (aged 17)  Paris Saint-Germain
10 MF Jay-Jay Okocha (c) 14 August 1973 (aged 28)  Paris Saint-Germain
11 MF GarbaLawal 22 May 1974 (aged 28)  Roda JC
12 GK Austin Ejide 8 April 1984 (aged 18)  Gabros International
13 DF RabiuAfolabi 18 April 1980 (aged 22)  Standard Liège
14 DF IfeanyiUdeze 21 July 1980 (aged 21)  PAOK
15 MF Justice Christopher 24 December 1981 (aged 20)  Royal Antwerp
16 DF EfeSodje 5 October 1972 (aged 29)  Crewe Alexandra
17 FW Julius Aghahowa 12 February 1982 (aged 20)  Shakhtar Donetsk
18 FW Benedict Akwuegbu 3 November 1974 (aged 27)  Shenyang Haishi
19 DF Eric Ejiofor 21 July 1979 (aged 22)  Maccabi Haifa
20 MF James Obiorah 24 August 1978 (aged 23) Lokomotiv Moscow
21 MF John Utaka 8 January 1982 (aged 20)  Al-Sadd
22 GK Vincent Enyeama 29 August 1982 (aged 19)  Enyimba
23 MF Femi Opabunmi 3 March 1985 (aged 17)



The first world cup in African soil in 2010 had Nigeria as one of the participating countries. Nigeria overtook the likes of Tunisia, Kenya and Mozambique to qualify. Nigeria was grouped with Argentina, South Korea and Greece in Group-B.

55,686 persons watched at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on 12thJune 2010 as Gabriel Heinze’s 6 minute lone goal gave Argentina victory over Nigeria with German referee Wolfgang Stark in the middle. DimitriSalpingidis and VasilisTorisidis made sure that KaluUche’s 16 minute goal meant nothing at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein South Africa on the 17thof June 2010 as Greece beat Nigeria 2-1. On the 22ndof June, 61,874 fans watched at Durban Stadium as Portuguese referee, OlegarioBenquerenca took charge when Nigeria drew 2-2 with South Korea. KaluUche and YakubuAyegbeni scored for the Super Eagles while Lee Jung-Soo and Park Chu-Young scored for Korea. Eagles didn’t make it through group stage here.


Coach:  Lars Lagerbäck

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Club
1 GK Vincent Enyeama 29 August 1982 (aged 27)  Hapoel Tel Aviv
2 DF Joseph Yobo (c) 6 September 1980 (aged 29)  Everton
3 DF TayeTaiwo 16 April 1985 (aged 25) Marseille
4 FW NwankwoKanu 1 August 1976 (aged 33) Portsmouth
5 DF RabiuAfolabi 18 April 1980 (aged 30)  Red Bull Salzburg
6 DF Danny Shittu 2 September 1980 (aged 29)  Bolton Wanderers
7 FW John Utaka 8 January 1982 (aged 28) Portsmouth
8 FW Yakubu 22 November 1982 (aged 27)  Everton
9 FW Obafemi Martins 28 October 1984 (aged 25)  VfL Wolfsburg
10 FW Brown Ideye[4] 10 October 1988 (aged 21) Sochaux
11 FW Peter Odemwingie 15 July 1981 (aged 28) Lokomotiv Moscow
12 FW KaluUche 15 November 1982 (aged 27) Almería
13 MF AyilaYussuf 4 November 1984 (aged 25) Dynamo Kyiv
14 MF SaniKaita 2 May 1986 (aged 24)  AlaniaVladikavkaz
15 MF LukmanHaruna 12 April 1990 (aged 20) Monaco
16 GK Austin Ejide 8 April 1984 (aged 26)  Hapoel Petah Tikva
17 DF ChidiOdiah 17 December 1983 (aged 26)  CSKA Moscow
18 FW Victor Obinna 25 March 1987 (aged 23)  Málaga
19 FW ChineduObasi 1 June 1986 (aged 24)  1899 Hoffenheim
20 MF Dickson Etuhu 8 June 1982 (aged 28)  Fulham
21 DF EldersonEchiéjilé 20 January 1988 (aged 22)  Rennes
22 DF Dele Adeleye 25 December 1988 (aged 21)  Sparta Rotterdam
23 GK Dele Aiyenugba 20 November 1983 (aged 26)



The Super Eagles were also present at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after beating the likes of Kenya, Malawi and Namibia. The Super Eagles were placed with Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina and Iran in the same Group-F. On 16th June 2014, Nigeria drew 0-0 with Iran in the first match at Arena da Bàixada in Curitiba Brazil with Ecuadorian referee, Carlos Vera stood in the middle as 39,081 fans watched.

In the second match on the 21st of June, 2014, at Arena Pantanal Cuiaba Brazil, Peter Odemwingie scored the lone in 29 minute as Nigeria beat Bosnia Herzegovina 1-0 with Peter O’Leary of New Zealand in the middle as 40,499 fans watched. The last group match that ended 3-2 in favour of Argentina took place at the Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre on the 25th June, 2014.

Referee Nicola Rizzoli of Italy was in charge when Ahmed Musa and Lionel Messi scored 2 goals each before Marcos Rojo finished Nigeria up. In the second round 16 matches between Nigeria and France, a Paul Pogba’s 79 minute goal and 90+ owngoal by Joseph Yobo gave France 2-0 victory.


No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Club
1 GK Vincent Enyeama 29 August 1982 (aged 31)  Lille
2 DF Joseph Yobo (c) 6 September 1980 (aged 33)  Norwich City[121]
3 MF EjikeUzoenyi 23 March 1988 (aged 26)  Enugu Rangers[122]
4 MF Reuben Gabriel 25 September 1990 (aged 23)  Waasland-Beveren
5 DF Efe Ambrose 18 October 1988 (aged 25)  Celtic
6 DF AzubuikeEgwuekwe 16 July 1989 (aged 24)  Warri Wolves
7 FW Ahmed Musa 14 October 1992 (aged 21)  CSKA Moscow
8 FW Peter Odemwingie 15 July 1981 (aged 32)  Stoke City
9 FW Emmanuel Emenike 10 May 1987 (aged 27)  Fenerbahçe
10 MF John Obi Mikel 22 April 1987 (aged 27)  Chelsea
11 MF Victor Moses 12 December 1990 (aged 23)  Liverpool[123]
12 DF KunleOdunlami 30 April 1991 (aged 23)  Sunshine Stars
13 DF JuwonOshaniwa 14 September 1990 (aged 23)  Ashdod
14 DF Godfrey Oboabona 16 August 1990 (aged 23)  ÇaykurRizespor
15 MF Ramon Azeez 12 December 1992 (aged 21)  Almería
16 GK Austin Ejide 8 April 1984 (aged 30)  HapoelBe’erSheva
17 MF OgenyiOnazi 25 December 1992 (aged 21)  Lazio
18 MF Michael Babatunde 24 December 1992 (aged 21)  Volyn Lutsk
19 FW UcheNwofor 17 September 1991 (aged 22) Heerenveen[124]
20 FW Michael Uchebo 2 February 1990 (aged 24)  CercleBrugge
21 GK ChigozieAgbim 28 November 1984 (aged 29)  Gombe United
22 DF Kenneth Omeruo 17 October 1993 (aged 20) Middlesbrough[125]
23 FW Shola Ameobi 12 October 1981 (aged 32)



  1. Nigeria has played a total of 18 matches at the FIFA WORLD CUP from 1994,1998,2002,2010&2014
  2. Nigeria has scored a total of 20 goals in 18 matches at the FIFA World Cup:1994=7, 1998=6, 2002=1,2010=3& 2014=3
  3. Nigeria has conceded a total of 26 goals at the FIFA World Cup: 1994=4, 1998=9, 2002=3, 2010=5 & 2014=5.
  4. Nigeria has played just 3 goalkeepers in their 5 appearances in the World Cup: 1994-1998= Peter Rufai 8 matches. 2002=Ike Shorunmu 2 matches, Enyeama 1 match. 2010-2014=Vincent Enyeama 7 matches.
  5. Nigeria has taken 3 foreign coaches and 2 home based coaches to the world cup: 1994=foreign, 1998=foreign, 2002=home based, 2010=foreign & 2014=home based.
  6. No Nigerian has ever scored up to 3 goals in the history of the world cup. The highest goal scorers in Nigeria just have 2 goals each: Daniel Amokachi=2, Emmanuel Amunike=2, KaluUche=2 & Ahmed Musa=2.
  7. Peter Rufai was in goal for 8 matches at the FIFA World Cup and he conceded 13 goals and kept 3 clean shits. 2 in 1994 plus 1 in 1998. Two has come against Bulgaria.
  8. Ike Shoromu was in goal for 2 matches and conceded 3 goals with zero clean shit.
  9. Vincent Enyeama was in goal for 8 matches. He conceded 10 goals and kept 3 clean shits. 1 in 2002 against England and 2 in 2014 against Iran and Bosnia Herzegovina.
  10. Nigeria has kept 6 clean shits in 18 matches at the FIFA World Cup.
  11. Nigeria has never substituted a goalkeeper in a world cup match.
  12. Nigeria has played 1,650 minutes at the FIFA World Cup: 90×17=1,530+120munites against Italy in 1994 round 16= 1,650 minutes in 18 matches.
  13. Mutiu Adepoju is the player to have come from the bench most with 4 appearances in 1994.
  14. Nigeria has never won nor scored a penalty in the history of FIFA World cup.


Nigeria has made 41 substitutions in 18 matches they’ve played in the world cup. In 1994 in the first match, MutiuAdepoju and EmekaEzeugo came in for Samson Siasia and Finidi George in 69 and 77 minutes. 2nd match: Adepoju and Austin Okocha came in for Samson Siasia and Sunday Oliseh in the 57 and 88 minutes. 3rd match: Okocha and Adepoju came in for RashidiYekini and George Finidi in the 69 and 84 minutes. 4th match: Adepoju and Thompson Oliha came in for Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amunike in the 35 and 57 minutes. That makes it a total of 8 substitutions in 1994 World Cup.

In the 1998 World Cup,  1ST  Match: RasheedYekini, TijaniBabangida and Godwin Okpara came in for MobiOkparaku, Victor Ikpeba and GarbaLawal in the 70, 83 and 90+3 minutes. 2nd match: KanuNwankwo, RasheedYekini and TijaniBabangida came in for Amokachi, Ikpeba and Finidi George in the 67, 75 and 84 minutes. 3rd Match: Godwin Okpara and Finidi George came in for Sunday Oliseh and Wilson Oruma in the 45 and 68 minutes. 4th Match: RasheedYekini and TijaniBabangida came in for NwankwoKanu and GarbaLawal in the 65 and 73 minutes. That’s a total of 10 substitutions.

In Korea/Japan 2002: 1st Match: Pius Ikedia and Justice Christopher came in for Kanu and EfeSodje in the 48 and 73 minutes. 2nd match: Kanu and Ikedia came in for Celestine Babayaro and Bartholomew Ogbeche in the 65 and 70 minutes. 3rd match: Pius Ikedia came in for Femi Opabinmi in the 86 minute. That’s a total of 5 substitutions.

In South Africa 2010: 1st match: Obafemi Martins, Kalu Uche and Osaze Odemwingie came in for Obinna Nsofor, Chined uObasi and TayeTaiwo in the 52, 60 and 75 minutes. 2nd match: Obasi, Uwa Echiejile and Rabiu Afolabi came in for Osaze, Echiejile and also Echiejile in the 46, 55 and 77 minutes. 3rd match: Echiejile, Martins and Nsofor came in for Joseph Yobo 46, NwankwoKanu 57 and Yakubu Ayegbeni 70. That’s a total of 9 substitutions.

In Brazil 2014: 1st match: Joseph Yobo, Shola Ameobi and Osaze Odemwingie came in for Godfrey Aboabona, Victor Moses and Ramon Azeez in the 29, 52 and 69 minutes. 2nd match: Shola Ameobi and EjikeUzoenyi came in for Ahmed Musa 65 and Michel Babatunde 75. 3rd match: Uche Nwofor and Michael Uchebo came in for Michel Babatunde and Osaze in the 66 and 80 minutes. 4th match: Reuben Gabriel and Uche Nwofor came in for OgenyiOnazi and Victor Moses in the 59 and 89 minutes. That’s a total of 9 substitutions. Therefore: 8+10+5+9+9=41 substitutions in 18 matches


Nigeria has played 1,650 minutes of football in the World Cup. Out of these minutes, only 86 players have been involved in them all. Don’t get it twisted for I will explain. In the year 1994, 22 players were invited. In the year 1998, 22 players were also invited. Out of the 22 players invited in 1998, 12 of them were gotten from the 1994 squad.

Therefore, the 1994 world cup and 1998 world cup were executed by 22 players instead of 44. Peter Rufai, UcheOkechukwu, Sunday Oliseh, MutiuAdepoju, Austin Eguavoen, Austin Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike, Daniel Amokachi, Victor Ikpeba, Finidi George, Thompson Oliha and RasheedYekini returned for the 1998 world cup after participating in the 1994 tournament. In the 2002 world cup, 23 players were invited and out of them all, 6 players from the 1998 world cup returned.

These players are: Austin Okocha, MutiuAdepoju, Babayaro, NwankwoKanu, Taribo West and GarbaLawal. So the 1994, 1998 and 2002 ought to have had 67 players, but they ended up having 39 as 17 have been involved twice and still in the national team. The 2010 world cup had 23 players invited with 5 players that took part in2002 coming back again. Those players are: NwankwoKanu, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, John Utaka, Rabiu Ofalabi and Austin Ejide. In the 2014 world cup, 23 players were invited with 4 players from 2010 squad returning and they are: Enyeama, Yobo, Ejide and Osaze Odemwingie.

With these statistics, it is clear that out of the 113 players that are numerically involved in the 5 world cup tournaments, only 86 took part as 27 players have been repeatedly invited in the course of the 5 tournaments. 






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