BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
As the FIFA U-20 World Cup kicks off in Poland this Thursday, Nigeria already has a position in the record books. Among the nine fastest scorers in the 42-year history of the competition are two Nigerians.
The 1985, a record set by a Nigerian player, Monday Odiaka has not been equalled, 34 years after.
Monday Odiaka has remained the fastest marksman in the history of the competition. It took the Nigerian 14 seconds from kickoff for the Nigerian to score against Canada in 1985, a record that still stands to this day.
He is not the only Nigerian record holder in the competition. When Christopher Ohenhen fired in from freekick that enabled Nigeria beat hosts, Saudi Arabia 2-1 in 1989, it turned a milestone – the 500th goal of the tournament.
It was also at the Saudi 1989 that Nigeria produced the greatest comeback in the competition’s history as the Flying Eagles came from four goals down to level up at 4-4 against Saudi Arabia and eventually win on penalties.
Yet at that same tournament, Christopher Nwosu produced one of the greatest moments in the competition’s history. With just one minute to end the game with Czechoslovakia, Nigeria was desperately looking for an equalizer to be able to advance to the quarterfinals.
Nwosu picked the ball from the half line, ran past the Czech’s half of the field and paced past defenders as if they were not there.
He ended his solo run with a blistering shot that hit the roof of the net. The goal was adapted for television exhibition in Portugal to promote the next edition.
Almost in similar vein, Daniel Adejo’s last minute goal against Tahiti in 2009 became the 1,800th goal of the competition.