It’s been a great year for Nigeria football, with the country winning world and continental titles at the youth and senior levels.
In February, Nigeria’s senior national team, nicknamed the Super Eagles, won its third Africa Cup of Nations trophy with a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in Johannesburg, South Africa.
About nine months later, the Golden Eaglets of
Nigeria won their record fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup championship with a 3-0 win over Mexico in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.
The Golden Eaglets did not lose a match in the UAE, and Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho, who had six goals in the tournament, was named the competition’s outstanding player.
African soccer analyst David Legge says the Golden Eaglets played a beautiful brand of passing football in the UAE, and the team, if it stays together, has the potential to win more medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and in future international tournaments.
Looking ahead to 2014, Nigeria has its sights set firmly on Brazil, where it’s grouped with Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and two-time champion Argentina for the first round of the FIFA World Cup.
This will be Nigeria’s fifth World Cup appearance, and the team is led by head coach Stephen Keshi, who was a defender on the Super Eagles when they booked their first World Cup ticket at USA ’94.
Nigeria reached the Round of 16 at USA ’94 and France ’98, and Coach Keshi would love to see the team advance to later stages in Brazil. I’m sure Keshi would also love to see his salary paid on a consistent, regular basis by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Keshi complained that he was not paid by the federation through much of 2013. Paying their coach is one New Year’s resolution that must be met by the NFF for Nigeria football to achieve greater success in 2014.