‘We meet again, 40 years later!’

Edwin  - CEO January 25, 2024
Updated 2024/01/25 at 10:01 PM
4 Min Read
Super Eagles of AFCON 84 Final in Cote d'Ivoire
Super Eagles of AFCON 84 Final in Cote d'Ivoire

Resilience Beyond Rivalry between Nigeria and Cameroon in AFCON


Super Eagles 1980 team


By Paul Okoku


Resilience Beyond Rivalry between Nigeria and Cameroon in AFCON, we meet again, 40 years later!


In the heart of Nigeria, where soccer is more than a sport, it’s a legacy. I carry with me a story of determination, rivalry, and the unyielding spirit of the Super Eagles. As the AFCON 2024 unfolds, I find myself caught between memories of the past and hopes for the future.


I was, fortunately, a member of that Super Eagles AFCON 1984 silver medal-winning squad that etched its mark on Nigerian soccer history. Our journey wasn’t just about victories; it was a testament to resilience and skill. Yet, one match changed the course of history—the showdown against Cameroon.


Everyone said we lost because we were inexperienced. That’s not the whole truth, as I reminisce. The Super Eagles, far from inexperienced, had triumphed over formidable opponents to secure their place in AFCON ’84. A goalless draw against Morocco in Benin in 1983 set the stage for an epic battle in Rabat two weeks later, where we emerged victorious against all odds and thus qualified for the AFCON 1984.


Isa Shofoluwe and Chibuzor Ehilegbu played with me in the match in Rabat. Invited straight from the Flying Eagles after returning freshly from the U-21 World Cup tournament in Mexico in 1983, we were battle-tested and ready.


However, playing in the finals of a prestigious, coveted, and highest-ranked football tournament on the continent of Africa, in this instance, AFCON, requires a team with significant experience and skill. Hence, being an inexperienced team doesn’t correspond with reality.


Nonetheless, the journey continued, and we faced a powerhouse-Egypt-in the semifinals. Defying expectations, we conquered the mighty Egyptians, earning a place in the finals. Our performance showcased not just skill but the undying Nigerian spirit.


Fast forward to AFCON 2024, where a new generation of Super Eagles takes the stage. I, a proud 1984 AFCON silver medal-winning team member, will be watching with anticipation. While the echoes of the past reverberate, I wish the current team success, urging them to play with pride, honor, and the spirit of true Nigerian champions.


I hate to admit it, but our rivalry with Cameroon started with us, the 1984 AFCON team; I am saying this with a wry smile. Let our story be a source of inspiration, not just rivalry that started in defeat. Play with all your heart, and remember, the entire nation is behind you—100%.


In this instance, as the Super Eagles take to the pitch in AFCON 2024 against Cameroon, they carry the legacy of our past great players, the AFCON heroics. It’s more than a match; it’s a continuation of a story that transcends time—a story of triumph, resilience, and the indomitable spirit that defines Nigerian soccer.


We send you our best wishes to the Super Eagles of AFCON 2024: Play nicely, with pride, and honor the legacy. Good luck, and bring home the victory for Nigeria!


With our heartfelt support!


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