For football legends from Nigeria, winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) stands out as the pinnacle achievement in their careers. As the 34th edition of the AFCON approaches in Ivory Coast, past winners fondly recall the excitement, drama, and pride associated with lifting the prestigious trophy.
Ogenyi Onazi, a member of the 2013 winning team, considers the AFCON victory in South Africa as his biggest achievement, expressing pride in being counted among the few Nigerian players who secured the title. Christian Chukwu, the first Nigerian to lift the AFCON trophy in 1980, describes the jubilation, feeling like a king, and the recognition received, including houses, cars, and gifts from President Shehu Shagari.
Kadiri Ikhana, another member of the 1980 team, reminisces about the love and joy shared in camp, highlighting the unforgettable experience of winning on home soil. Sylvanus Okpala, the second youngest member of the team at 18, appreciates the gifts received, including a television and appliances, which he shared with his family.
Goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala reflects on the overwhelming joy and surprises, with gifts pouring in from various quarters, including a party hosted by Chief MKO Abiola. The recognition and support from President Shehu Shagari added to the sense of pride and happiness for the players.
As the current Super Eagles team prepares for the upcoming AFCON, these legends’ memories serve as a testament to the significance of winning the continental championship in the hearts of Nigerian footballers.