The Golden Eaglets Crash Out at the Quarter Final at Scotland 1989

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The 1995 tournament held in Canada was a bitter pill in the mouth of the Golden Eaglets, and they were determined to make amends at the 1989 tournament which was hosted by Scotland. In a group comprising 1987 host Canada, China PR and tournament favorite Argentina, the Golden Eaglets were expected to progress to the Quarter-finals with ease. Book makers were already tipping the Nigerians to clinch the trophy before the tournament even began.

They lived up to their billing in their first match, when they stunned Canada 4-0, with Kayode Keshinro scoring a brace in the 27th and 75th minutes before Babajide Oguntuwase and Victor Ikpeba put the game beyond the Canadians with two superb goals in the 56th and 78th minutes. They then drew 0-0 with Argentina in their second match. In their must win last group game against China, the Golden Eaglets defeated China PR with an emphatic 3-0 bashing, and they sent jitters down the spine of other countries who were already avoiding the Golden Eaglets. Olusegun Fetuga, Victor Ikpeba and Sunny Umoru were on the scorers sheet in an encounter that saw the Nigerians completely dominating proceedings.

In the Quarter-finals, the Golden Eaglets were paired with Saudi Arabia, and most sports analyst labeled the encounter as a rematch of David versus Goliath.

They were referring to the physically big Saudis, compared to the smaller sized Nigerians. The Golden Eaglets were however not going to be intimidated, as they battled the Saudi Arabians to a 0-0 score at regulation time.

The game had to be decided via penalties as it happened two years ago.

It was a game filled with so much intrigues, as the Golden Eaglets were face to face with the giant goalkeeper from Saudi Arabia. The game eventually ended 2-0 in favor of the Saudis, who went ahead to lift the Trophy. The Nigerians were so unlucky, as Bobolayefa Edun, Sunny Umoru, Patrick Mancha and Chiedu Anazonwu all missed their spot kicks, while Saud Al Hammali and Jabarti Al Shamrani scored for Saudi Arabia to take the game beyond the hopeful lads from Nigeria.

Some players from the Nigerian team to Scotland 1989 later progressed to the senior national team after blossoming in their various club-sides. Top on the list was Victor Nosa Ikpeba who was nickname “The prince of Monaco”. Victor Ikpeba eventually won the African footballer of the year award in 1997. Benedict Akwuegbu, Godwin Okpara and Precious Monye are also notable names who excelled both in club and country.

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Source by Clement Sadjere

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