It has been an eventful year 2018 for Nigeria as a nation and being a World Cup year, football has been very busy. Here; we present to you the major highlights (of everything good and bad) that has happened to Nigerian football in 2018.
January 4, 2018 – Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala was named the 2017 African Women’s Player of the Year at the AITEO CAF Awards Gala in Accra, Ghana on a night dominated by Egypt.
January 27, 2018 – Nigeria’s Women’s Under-20 team; the Falconets qualified for the Under-20 Women’s World Cup after trouncing South Africa 6-0 on the night and 8-0 on aggregate. Rasheedat Ajibade and Anam Imo scored a brace each as the Nigerians strolled to a convincing win in Benin City.
February 4, 2018 – Nigeria’s Super Eagles B, having reached the final of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the first time ever were battered by hosts Morocco 4-0 in the final in Casablanca.
March 4, 2018 – Rivers Angels FC of Port Harcourt won the Nigerian Women’s Football League (NWFL) Champions Shield in Lagos against league champions Nasarawa Amazons. Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi saved two penalty kicks as her side won 4-3 in the shootout.
April 18, 2018 – On a day all other Nigerian clubs in continental competitions were eliminated, Enyimba FC held South African side Bidvest Wits 0-0 in Calabar to advance to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup on away goals rule.
May 14, 2018 – Nigerian league topscorer Junior Lokosa was rewarded for his works as Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr named a 30-man provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. It was trimmed down to 25 on May 30 with Lokosa ultimately dropped.
June 10, 2018 – The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) adjourned (after 24 Match Days) for its mid-season break and to resume for action after the World Cup finals, on July 18, 2018.
June 2018 – Nigeria’s Super Eagles joined thirty-one other nations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia. The Eagles lost their opening game 0-2 to Croatia on June 16, bounced back to defeat Iceland courtesy of Ahmed Musa’s brace on June 22 before suffering a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to Argentina on June 26 to exit the tournament.
July 2, 2018 – Nigeria’s sport minister – in a press statement – ordered Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick and his executives to handover power to Christopher Giwa in obedience of an alleged Supreme Court ruling of May, 2018. This started months of uncertainty and abrupt disruption of internal football competitions in Nigeria.
July 21, 2018 – National men’s Under-20 team – the Flying Eagles – qualified for the 2019 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations after demolishing Mauritania 5-0 in Lagos for a 6-1 aggregate score. The victory meant that Paul Aigbogun’s boys will be in Niger after having missed the last edition in 2017.
August 2018 – Nigeria women’s national Under-20 – the Falconets – participated at the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France. The Christopher Danjuma coached girls lost their first game against Germany 0-1 on August 6, defeated Haiti 1-0 on August 9 before rounding off their group stage games with a 1-1 draw with China on August 13.
The Falconets were however knocked out in the second round by eventual finalists Spain who inflicted a 2-1 defeat on the Nigerians.
August 31, 2018 – A landmark decision was taken by the organisers of the NPFL, the League Management Company (LMC) in conjunction with the Club Owners that the 2018 League season would be discontinued.
September 15, 2018 – Nigeria’s national under-17 team – Golden Eaglets – defeated the Black Starlets of Ghana 3-1 on penalties to win the West African Zone B of the qualification series for 2019 Africa Under-17 Championship, thus qualifying for the tournament to be held in Tanzania.
September 20, 2018 – NFF President Amaju Melvin Pinnick was successful in his reelection bid as he was voted for another four-year tenure in office at an election held in Katsina, Northern Nigeria.
October 23, 2018 – Rivers state owned women’s team, Rivers Angels continued their stranglehold on the Cup competition as they won the 2018 Women’s AITEO Cup final played at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa. They defeated South-south rivals Ibom Angels 1-0 courtesy of winger Juliet Sunday’s goal.
October 24, 2018 – Enugu Rangers recorded a historic feat, coming from 3-0 down to beat Kano Pillars on penalties in the Men’s AITEO Cup final decided at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba. Kelvin Itoya, Chidera Eze and Ajani Ibrahim scored to take the game into penalties where the Flying Antelopes won it, convincingly.
November 17, 2018 – The men’s senior national team qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, for the first time in five years after a 1-1 draw with hosts South Africa in Johannesburg.
December 1, 2018: Nigeria’s Super Falcons won the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for a ninth time in Accra, Ghana. Though not a plain-sailing conquest, the Nigerian women defeated South Africa on penalties in the final after a goalless stalemate in regulation and extra time.
December 22, 2018 – Lobi Stars became the first Nigerian side to qualify for the group stage of the Total CAF Champions League in three years after edging Kenyan champions Gor Mahia 2-0 in Enugu to record a 3-3 aggregate score.
It’s a wrap from us. Do you think we missed out on any notable performance or achievement? Feel free to let us know at the comments section. You can slo let us know what you feel in how the year went for Nigerian football.
From me, it’s cheers to a better and greater 2019!