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Bryan Idowu who scored the goal that shot Nigeria ahead in the Tuesday’s match with Argentina has become the 59th Nigerian international to find the net in first appearance.

Idowu, a defender with FC Amkar Perm in the Russian Premier League, was a second half substitute for Ola Aina who was having his third outing in Nigeria’s colours.

Fourteen minutes after his introduction, the defender surged forward to put Nigeria ahead after Alex Iwobi had levelled the score line for Nigeria.


His impressive performance could be an indication of what should be expected from him in the days leading to the World Cup that will be competed for in his country of abode.

A resident of Russia, Idowu is of Nigerian decent, having a full blooded Nigerian father and half Nigerian, half Russian mother. He was born and raised in Russia except for the period he was aged three to six when he lived in Owerri, Nigeria.

He may have compounded the selection headaches for Coach Rohr who will be seriously be thinking of how to accommodate the player that was not part of the qualifying series.

The impressive well-built defender with attacking instinct has now joined the rank of other notable Nigerian players – Obafemi Martins, Finidi George, Uche Okechukwu, Thompson Usiyan and Matthias Obianika among others who scored in the very first time they played for Nigeria.

It has been long that a previously uncapped player found the net. Peter Utaka and Osas Idehen did score for a second string Nigerian side of 2010 in the 5-2 demolition of Congo DR in a friendly tie in Abuja.


Iwobi too missed being a scoring debutant has his first goal for Nigeria after having been substitute in two previous matches with Congo and Cameroon in friendly matches played in Vise, Belgium in October 2015.

The first scoring debutant for Nigeria was Tesilimi Balogun, in whose name a stadium in Lagos is named. It was against Sierra Leone in both countries’ maiden international duel on October 8, 1949, that he achieved his feat.

The last time Nigeria presented the full complement of its national team in Lagos was 2001 in an African Nations Cup qualifier. Victor Agali, having his first cap, scored the solitary goal of the encounter.

Obafemi Martins was also another scoring debutant when he found the net in Nigeria’s 3-0 demolition of Republic of Ireland in a friendly game on May 29, 2004 in London.

Barely six months later, Ayodele Makinwa joined the exclusive club when he score Nigeria’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to South Africa on the occasion of Mandela Challenge tie in Johannesburg. That was the first time South Africa scored and beat Nigeria.





PLAYER                                 MATCH/ DATE VENUE

  1. Balogun Tesilimi Sierra Leone  October 8, 1949 Freetown
  2. Okoh Friday – 2 goals Gold Coast    October 20, 1951 Lagos
  3. Asoluka Cyril Gold Coast    October 20, 1951 Lagos
  4. Anieke Peter Gold Coast    October 20, 1951 Lagos
  5. Okere Titus   Gold Coast    October 20, 1951 Lagos
  6. Okwudili Daniel Gold Coast    October 27, 1956 Lagos
  7. Longe Julius   Gold Coast    October 27, 1956 Lagos
  8. Ejoh Hubert Gold Coast    October 27, 1956 Lagos
  9. Noquapor Patrick – 2goals v. Ghana October 27, 1957 Accra
  10. Ijeomah Isaac      Ghana        October 27, 1957 Accra
  11. Buraimoh Abudu – 2Goals v. Ghana October 25, 1958 Lagos
  12. Onyali Elkana v. Ghana October 10, 1959 Lagos
  13. Ohiri Christopher v. Ghana October 10, 1959 Lagos
  14. Chukwumah Egwuonu v. Tunisia December 10, 1961 Tunis
  15. Egbuonu Johnny v. Cameroon January 1, 1963, Yaounde
  16. Udemezue Chris v. Cameroon January 1, 1963, Yaounde
  17. Olatunji Lasisi v. Guinea July 27, 1963 Lagos
  18. Anieke Sunday v. Gabon August 28, 1965 Libreville
  19. Mordi Bobo v. Gabon August 28, 1965 Libreville
  20. Olowo-Oshodi Samsideen v. Congo November 5, 1966 Lagos
  21. Aghoghovbia Joe v. Cameroon December 10, 1968 Lagos
  22. Obianika Mathias – 2 Goals v. Upper Volta November 27, 1971 Lagos
  23. Oyarekhua Sunny v. Upper Volta November 27, 1971 Lagos
  24. Popoola Ben v. Cote d’Ivoire July 18, 1974 Lagos
  25. Ibeabuchi Ogidi v. Ghana August 24, 1974 Accra
  26. Usiyen Thompson v. Kenya February 7, 1976 Nairobi
  27. Godwin Iwelumo v. Benin February 14, 1977 Lagos
  28. Onwuachi Martins v. Benin October 14, 1978 Cotonou
  29. Boateng Leotis v. Tunisia July 12, 1980 Lagos
  30. Emmanuel Osigwe v. Tunisia July 12,1980,Lagos
  31. Nwokocha Chris v. Tanzania Dec. 20, 1980 Dar-es-Salam
  32. Ali Bala v. Upper Volta July 18, 1981 Lagos
  33. Adeshina Ademola v. Ethiopia March 7, 1982 Benghazi
  34. Omughele John v. Ghana October 30, 1983 Accra
  35. Sadi Dahiru v. Kenya April 20, 1985 Lagos
  36. Balarabe Abubakar v. Guinea April 9, 1989 Conakry
  37. Adekola Adeolu v. Guinea April 22, 1989 Ibadan
  38. Oyekanmi Taju v. Cote d’Ivoire January 25, 1990 Kaduna
  39. Okechukwu Uche v. Cote d’Ivoire January 25, 1990 Kaduna
  40. Lawal Dimeji v. Togo August 18, 1990 Lagos
  41. Finidi George v. Burkina Faso July 27, 1991 Lagos
  42. Taiwo Wasiu v. USA June 11, 1995 Boston
  43. Fatusi Tesilimi v. Czech Rep. Dec, 11, 1996 Casablanca
  44. Zeigbo Kenneth v. Cameroon August 7, 1997 Tunis
  45. Garba Ahmed v. Iran Jan. 28, 1998 Hong Kong
  46. Aghahowa Julius v. Morocco February 3, 2000 Lagos
  47. Ishola Shuaibu v. Malawi June 4, 2000 Kano
  48. Agali Victor v. Zambia January 13, 2001 Lagos
  49. Opabunmi Femi v. Kenya May 4, 2002 Lagos
  50. Ogochukwu Ileagwu v. Senegal October 12, 2002 Dakar
  51. Ogechukwu Uche v. Ghana December 15, 2002 Accra
  52. Akwueme Emeka v. Jordan April 28, 2004 Lagos
  53. Martins Obafemi v. Ireland May 29, 2004 London
  54. Makinwa Ayodele v. South Africa Nov. 17, 2004 Johannesburg
  55. Akabueze Chukwuma v. Kenya May 27, 2007 Nairobi
  56. Peter Utaka v. Congo DR March 3, 2010 Abuja
  57. Osas Idehen v. Congo DR March 3, 2010 Abuja
  58. Ehiosun Ekigho v. Sierra Leone February 9, 2011, Lagos
  59. Bryan Idowu Argentina, November 14, 2017




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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