Focus on Football in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country that loves sports, especially football. Football is widely loved and gives the citizens a sense of pride and belonging. 

Nigerians can be described as fanatics due to the emotions football whips across the board. From the young to the old, men and women alike. They are keen followers of both national and international leagues.

They heartily and fully support their preferred clubs and national team, following the matches in the fields and TV stations.

The Football History in Nigeria

The rich history dates back to the 1900s, with the first match played in 1904. The country has a men’s team, a women’s team, and a youth team. All the teams are further subdivided into age groups ensuring continuity and progression. There are three national-level football leagues. They all culminate in the topmost level; The Nigeria Premier League which features 20 local clubs.

Nigerian National Football Team

The national team is christened the Super Eagles. This denotes their high flying potential in the sport. The team is well decorated having participated in several World Cups and other major international tournaments.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is legally mandated to issue policy directives concerning the sport in the country. The NFF is a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). 

Their home ground is the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, a multipurpose stadium in Abuja. Currently, the Super Eagles are captained by Ahmed Musa, while Gernot Rohr is the head coach.
Their joint most capped players are Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo, both having played 101 times for the Super Eagles. Rashidi Yekini is the topmost scorer with 37 goals.

International Tournament Participation & Achievements 

The Super Eagles have played many international matches. NFF, CAF, and FIFA tournaments. The team has played 6 times in the World Cup with the exception of 2006 reaching the elimination stage thrice. 

They achieved a 5th rank position by FIFA in 1994, while the lowest was in 1998 at 82. Their current position is 35. 
Super Eagles have played a record 18 times in the African Cup of Nations Championship and are three-time champions. Their latest tournament win was in 2013 when they edged out Burkina Faso in the finals. Other tournaments they have participated in are the FIFA Confederations Cup, the CAN competitions, and the WAFU Nations Cup.

FIFA Suspensions & International Bans 

The team has suffered one FIFA ban. This was in 2010 and the reason was interference by the government. At the continental level, CAF banned Nigeria from the 1998 tournament after the President had withdrawn the team when participating in the 1996 tournament.

Leagues & Tournaments

The country has 3 leagues; Nigeria Premier League, Nigeria National League, and the Nigeria Nationwide League. The Nigeria Premier League is the topmost league with 20 clubs, followed by the National League with 32 clubs, while the Nationwide League has 40 clubs. 

Kano Pillars and Enyimba International FC are some of the most decorated clubs. Kano has won the top league title four times. While Enyimba International FC has won it 6 times.

Major Clubs & Rivalry (Derby)

The top league is very competitive and prestigious as well. The two top clubs always jostling for the Championship are Enyimba International FC and Kano Pillars. 

  • Enyimba was founded in 1976. At the continental level, they have also won the CAF Champions League and Super Cups.
  • Kano Pillars was founded in 1990 in Kano City. They are nicknamed ‘Ahly Killers’  after beating Al Ahly, a top Egyptian club in the African Champions League.

Both clubs have produced internationally recognized players such as Abiodun Baruwa, Ahmed Musa, and Sani Kaita.

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