Nigeria at 58: 5 biggest achievements in sports since 1960

Nigeria at 58: 5 biggest achievements in sports since 1960

Nigeria no doubt are a force to reckon with in the sports industry across the globe since they began to participate in sporting events in the world.

It is no doubt that Nigeria are one of the biggest countries to beat when it comes to sports in Africa and the world at large.

Being the first African country to rank among the top five teams, the country caught the attention of the globe after their impressive outing at the 1994 World Cup in the US.

With many thinking that outing was a fluke, they went ahead to win the gold medal in the men's event of the Olympic Games in 1996.

While their cadet team never stopped winning the FIFA U17 World Cup since its maiden edition in China 33 years ago.

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Meanwhile, in the mode of independence celebration, x-rays five great moment of victory in the country's sports history.

1. First African country to rank 5th on the FIFA rankings

Regarded as the golden generation of the Super Eagles, the Clemence Westerhof led team won the second African Cup of Nations in Tunisia - beating Zambia 2-1 with new discovery, Emmanuel Amuneke scoring both goals.

The same year, they qualified for their debut appearance at the FIFA World Cup in the United States, but unlike other debutants, they shocked the world by beating Bulgaria 3-0 in their opening encounter.

A slim win for them over Greece ensured they sealed their passage to the next round of the competition - but a 2-1 defeat to Italy after extra time bundled them out of the tourney.

The outcome of their games and the level of their professionalism among others ensured they ranked 5th which is the biggest from any country on the continent of Africa since the global football rankings came to existence.

2. First African country to win Olympic gold medal

Two years later after qualifying for her first World Cup in the US, Nigeria went ahead to become the first African country to win the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.

The Bonfere Jo led side defeated Argentina 2-1 in the final of the men's football event to win the silverware many other so called advanced teams were looking for.

To say they started the competition on a shaky note was enough for anyone to write them off but they ensured they exploited the weaknesses of their opponents to win the events.

3. First African country to win the trio of Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals

After winning the 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal in the men's football event, coach Samson Siasia led his boys in 2008 to finish second at the same event but this time in Beijing, China.

They narrowly lost to Argentina in the final of the event, and in 2016, the same manager guided the national U23 team to finish third in the same event, but in Brazil.

As they become the first and only African team to have achieved the feat of winning the medals (gold in 1996, silver in 2008, and bronze in 2016).

4. First African country to win record five FIFA U17 World Cup titles

Nigeria became the most successful team in the history of the FIFA cadet competition having gone ahead to win five titles.

They won the maiden edition in China in 1985 and since then they haven't stopped winning as they emerged victorious in 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015.

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Through this competition, stars have emerged and have gone ahead to make the country proud at the national and club level.

Kanu Nwankwo is one of the icons that was discovered through the age grade championship and was part of the Arsenal team that survived a season without losing a game.

Kelechi Iheanacho is another star who came out from the competition and is currently flying the nation's flag high in the Premier League.

5. First African country to win 8 African Women's Championships

The Nigeria's women senior national team are the biggest team in Africa - although their dominance is not extended to the world.

They are the first African women's team to have reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999.

Meanwhile, they are second to none in the history of the African Women's Championship - winning eight out of the ten editions of the competitions.

They are the current champions after beating Cameroon 1-0 in the final of the 2016 edition in Yaounde.

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