Super Eagles at AFCON: Three historical perspectives, Eagles have another Moses

Footballers and the most fervent fans are largely superstitious, and they pick on recurring events, especially when the outcome is a win or triumph.

We have seen players hopping onto the pitch on one foot; we know players who will never step on lines; we also know those that wear the same pair of underwear because they believe it brings good luck. thus, as a superstitious Nigerian fan, I have picked (maybe myopically) recurring events through AFCON history when the Eagles have lifted the trophy.

Humour me by reading this with an open mind.

The Nigeria senior national football team, the Super Eagles, in their history of participation in the Africa Cup of Nations Cup tournament, have never won the Nations Cup after a complete sweep in their group matches. In 1980, the Green Eagles (as they were then known) topped Group A with five points (seven points in today’s equivalence) from two wins and a draw. They scored four goals and conceded one.

They beat Tanzania (West Africa) 3-1; drew 0-0 with Ivory Coast (West Africa) and beat Egypt (North Africa) 1-0.

In 1994, in a group of three teams, the Eagles beat Gabon (West Africa) 3-0 and drew goalless with Egypt (north Africa).

In 2013, they won just one match in the group stage, a 2-0 victory over Ethiopia-two penalty goals by Victor Moses. They drew 1-1 with both Burkina Faso (West Africa) and Zambia (South Africa).

READ ALSO: AFCON 2021: President Buhari hails emphatic progress of Super Eagles

Does this history portend a bad omen for the class of 2022?

Augustine Eguavoen is the nine-point coach. The last time he led the Super Eagles, in 2006; he claimed all nine points in Group C that had Senegal (West Africa); Ghana (West Africa), and Zimbabwe (South Africa). The team that had Austin Okocha and the emerging Mikel Obi fell to the Didier Drogba-led Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in the semi-final.

Historical perspective

  1. In 1980 and 1994, Nigeria faced Egypt in the group stage
  2. In 1980, the Eagles beat the Pharaohs 1-0; and now in 2022, the Eagles have achieved the same feat…do not come to any conclusions
  3. The last time, the Eagles won AFCON, a certain Victor Moses was the main offensive protagonist, even though Sunday Mba stole the limelight with his goals that won the title. Moses Simon is shining brightly in Cameroon and he also attacks from the left flank.

The Eagles’ showing so far, has gladdened many Nigerian hearts and Coach Eguavoen has impressed many with his line-ups and substitutions. Will history align with him and his players as they seek a fourth AFCON title?

The second phase of their quest kicks off on Sunday, January 23.

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