As Footynaija Celebrates with Nigeria in remembrance of her freedom from colonial Masters, we take a look at Nigeria Football over the years


Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901. Colonization lasted until 1960, when an independence movement succeeded in gaining Nigeria its independence. Nigeria first became a republic in 1963, but succumbed to military rule three years later after a bloody coup
Source: Wikipedia


The history of Nigeria football dates back to the early part of the twentieth century. The man behind the introduction the game was Baron Mulford, a Briton, who organized weekly matches between European and Nigerian youths in Lagos. However, the Nigerian football association was established in 1945 with the Governor’s Cup or what later became known as the FA cup as the major national competition.

In 1959, the NFA became affiliated to the continental body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA. After independence the following year, the administration of Nigeria football fell on the shoulders of Nigerians, with Mr. Godfrey Amachree becoming the first Nigerian Chairman of the NFA. Since then, Nigeria has had a very thrilling football history rising to fame and glory through hard work, determination, resilience, zeal and sustained national interest

In 1963, Nigeria first participated in the African Cup of Nations, but it was a first round shocker with the team losing 4-0 to Sudan and 6-3 to Egypt. The team which was born as UK Tourists in 1949 and later became the Red Devils before changing name to Green Eagles, and today  known as Super Eagles, did not qualify for the competition again until 1976, when the Green Eagles won bronze in Ethiopia.

Nigeria have won two African Nations Cup finals (1980 at home and 1994 in Tunisia), played in the Olympic Games six times (1968, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2008). In 1968, the Eagles sensationally drew 3-3 with ‘almighty’ Brazil at the Olympics in Mexico City, and in 1996 shocked the world by winning the gold in Atlanta, USA. Heroes of that triumph include Nwankwo Kanu (the current Captain of the Super Eagles and two -time African Player of the Year), Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Tijjani Babangida, Dosu Joseph, Wilson Oruma, Daniel Amokachi, Victor Ikpeba, Uche Okechukwu and Sunday Oliseh.

In 2008, the Nigeria team picked the silver in Beijing, after losing the final to Argentina by a lone goal.

After 32 years of relentless efforts, Nigeria qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in 1994. The Eagles triumphed over Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria in the final round of qualifying series, a stage where it had fallen several times previously to the likes of Tunisia, Algeria and Cameroon.

It was an impressive debut at the World Cup finals in America, as the Eagles topped their group that included two -time winners Argentina, Bulgaria and Greece. Nigeria defeated Bulgaria (3-0) ,Greece(2-0) and narrowly lost to Argentina (1-2). At the end of the competition the world football -governing body FIFA ,named the Eagles as  the second most entertaining team of the championships after winners Brazil. The Super Eagles also qualified for the 1998 finals in France, after beating Guinea, Kenya and Burkina Faso in the final round of qualification. Also, Nigeria was at the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. In Korea/Japan, Nigeria failed to reach the second round after losing 0-1 to Argentina and 1-2 to Sweden, and drawing 0-0 with England. The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the last tournament in Germany in 2006. In the race for 2010, Nigeria has remained unbeaten in the African qualifying series and there is a great national determination to overcome  all odds for the national team to be in South Africa.



The Nigeria Football Federation is Nigeria's football governing body. It was formally launched in 1945 and formed the first Nigerian national football team in 1949. It joined CAF in 1959 and FIFA in 1960. The NFF headquarters is located in the city of Abuja.
Source: Wikipedia


The Nigeria Football league is the highest Tier of Nigeria Domestic football which officially started in the year 1972. The domestic league has since evolved ever since its inception but no noticeable upgrade in its mode of operation. The NPFL
is a subject of Ridicule compared to other African football leagues like the Absa premiership, Egyptian premier league and others.
The Governing body of the NPFL has over the years failed to proffer solutions to sensitive issues which has been a determining factor in the downfall of the league. Some of these factors includes


 The football pitches used in most NPFL matches can be compared to that of a farmland. In most cases, a farmland is even better.


 Most at times you wonder if this is a professional league or a royal rumble match. The  lives of the players and match officials are always at risk. Often times, players are at their mercy and you see them running for their lives. Insecurity is a major challenge in the NPFL which seems to be on the rise.


Talking about violence and Insecurity in the NPFL, well Poor officiating is the cause of most royal rumble matches (I guess you know what that means) .The refereeing is very poor and most referees have been accused of match fixing and the end result? A fatal punch on the referees face at the end of the match. Ridiculous Right?


A lot of protests and Match boycotting has been the aftermath of refusing to pay the players
 Most players have been driven off their homes due to lack of finance to pay for their rents, Guess what? These players are professional in the NPFL. What a shame! 


The league has failed to perform in top footballing tournament in Africa. The biggest tournament in Africa which is the CAF Champions league has had Nigeria feature many times but has only won it twice in a space of 16 years courtesy of Enyimba FC who won it in 2003, defeating Ismaily of Egypt 2-1 on Aggregate as well as  defeating Etoil du sahel 5-3 on penalties in 2004. Ever since then, teams from NPFL has struggled to go pass the group stage. 



Well, irrespective of how bad and discouraging the NPFL could be, Nigerians should still raise their head up, as this present super eagles team led by Head coach Gernot Rohr looks to be promising and entertaining to watch the Young team has shown glimpses and flashes of how Bright the future seems to be . The bronze medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as at  the recent Afcon 2019 is fully stacked with long term amazing talent captained by veteran Ahmed Musa. Other players like EPL best tackler Wilfred Ndidi, Current Ligue 1 joint top scorer Victor Osimhen and Spain's young promisingly playmaker Samuel Chukwueze are one of the top prospect of the Super eagles. The super eagles of Nigeria are getting set for their friendly match against Brazil on Sunday 13th 2019, 5am at the Singapore National stadium.

let's see what the future hold for Nigeria Football!