BY KUNLE SOLAJA
Even though the African Games was Nigeria’s first continental honour in football, the country has failed to replicate the victory since that of January 1973.
The country’s best outing in the preceding 11 editions of the African Games was the runners-up finishing 41 years ago in Algeria and in the Abuja 2003 games.
Sports Village Square recalls that at the time Nigeria won in 1973 and losing in the 1978 final match, the football event was opened to the full national team until it was made age-graded at the Nairobi 1987 games.
Nigeria did not qualify for the 1987 games after been eliminated by Cote d’Ivoire in an encounter in which Samson Siasia made his debut for Nigeria.
Rabat 2019 will be Nigeria’s seventh participation in 21 editions of the football event. Nigeria did not qualify for the first edition in Congo, having been edged out by Togo in a West African qualifying series in Lagos.
Nigeria also missed out in 1987 in Nairobi, 2007 in Algiers and 2011 in Maputo. The positive is that the Nigerian team has always been in the medals’ zone in all the editions that the football team qualified.
Nigeria won gold in 1973, silver in 1978 and 2003, and bronze medals in 1991,1995 and 2015.
Nigeria also missed out in 1987in Nairobi, 2007 in Algiers and 2011 in Maputo.
The Nigerian U-20 team who are scheduled to leave for Rabat on Tuesday along with the first batch of the Nigerian contingent will begin a redemption quest on Friday when they face Burkina Faso in a Group A encounter at the Stade Hassan Moulay in Rabat.
The team will face South Africa next week Tuesday before their final group match with hosts, Morocco next week Friday. All the Group A matches are slated for Stade Hassan Moulay in Rabat
Nigeria’s fixtures at the All-Africa Games
16/08/2019- Nigeria v Burkina Faso, Stade Hassan Moulay, Rabat
20/08/2019- South Africa v Nigeria, Stade Hassan Moulay, Rabat
23/08/2019 Nigeria v Morocco, Stade Hassan Moulay, Rabat