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Nigeria’s ten sporting Achievements worthy of celebration in 2018

In a matter of hours 2018 will belong to history  and give way for 2019 a year packed with sporting action. What were the high points for Nigeria in 2018, check it out!

  1. Super Eagles qualification for the 2019 Nations cup even with a game to spare against Seychelles in March 2019. After emerging champions in 2013 under late coach Stephen Keshi the team went comatose failing to qualify back to back for the 2015 and 2017 editions. So a return to the ring in 2019 is a relief and getting the qualification without forcing soccer fans in the country to experience hypertension first is tickling.
  2. Super Falcons clinching of their 9th title at the African Women Nations Cup in Ghana and also qualifying for the FIFA Women’s world cup billed for France in June. The qualification for the world cup could be said to be a semi birth-right for the team having been in every edition of the world cup since inception in 1991.So you could say it is like following the tradition. But their dominance in Africa is not in doubt and they proved it once more by emerging champions in Ghana.
  3. Super Sand Eagles qualification for the Beach world cup in Paraguay after finishing as runners at the Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Egypt. Their qualification some say came from the never say die attitude of the Nigerian as they did not really prepare before heading to Egypt for the event. The lost to Senegal 6-1 in the final but picked a ticket to the world cup thus having an opportunity to appear at the world stage for the fifth time having been there in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
  4. Golden Eaglets qualification for the African U-17 Nations cup in Tanzania where they have been drawn against hosts Tanzania, Angola and Uganda in Group A. They stand a good chance of making it to the semifinals to pick a ticket for the World Cup in Peru. Interestingly Nigeria has won the world cup in this category a record five times, the last being the 2015 edition in Chile though the country failed to qualify for the 2017 edition in India.
  5. Return of National Sports Festival: After six years in limbo the National Sports festival made a comeback in Abuja with a private firm partnering with the ministry of sports to make it happen. After the Eko for show in 2012, Cross River was to take the baton, but that failed to materialise with funds cited as the main problem. Its return perhaps should mark a return indeed. Delta of course ruled the event as usual even as the debate over the use of elite athletes continues. Why should athletes who have competed in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and etc, be participating in the National sports festival where the developmental is and discover aspect of it all?

Should up and coming athletes with practically no equipment to train be competing with opponents training abroad and having the best of facilities? Does that look like a level playing field? Anyway the return of NSF made the list with Edo to host the 2020 edition.

  1. Anthony Joshua clinched the heavyweight unification bout against Joseph parker and has since become a bride that everybody would want to fight. Although he had predicted a knock out but nonetheless got the job by unanimous decision in front of 80,000 spectators at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Should we be counting it, well success has many brothers and as a Nigerian born British boxer we certainly have a stake in his progress.
  2. NOC Election took place recently with Engr Habu Gumel emerging its President. It is not as if his election was the super melting point, but the election held with rancour. It is usual here to fight after elections.
  3. The qualification of Nigeria and Africa’s first ever bobsled team for the winter Olympics was indeed huge medal or no medal. US-based trio of Seun Adigun, the team driver and leader, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere have qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after completing the fifth of their five qualifying races. It was a solo effort as Nigeria neither had a national team no a federation for the sport before they came on stage.
  4. The women basketball team D’Tigeress, made it to the world cup in Spain and bowing out in the quarterfinals after losing 71-40 to USA., and eventually finished in the 8th place in the classification matches .The team cannot be said to have done badly considering that the NBBF was engrossed in crisis for a greater part of the year.No man goes in pursuit of rats when his house is on fire. Putting crisis aside to do something is something.
  5. Nigeria’s amputee football team took part for the first time in the Amputee world cup in Mexico after three failed attempts due to financial constraints. Even the trip to Mexico did not come easy a lot of cajoling and begging had to be done before the money could be raised for the Goodluck Obieze captained team could make it. That they eventually made an appearance is a huge plus and a boost to the players.

Some of the dark spots of the year include NFF election crisis, the NBBF brouhaha and Super Eagles poor run at the World cup in Russia after being voted team with the best jersey as if the occasion was for fashion parade.

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