The Super Eagles of Nigeria is as big as it gets. Learn about the team's biggest pop culture moments here.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria is more than just a football team. It is an institution of happiness that gives joy and excitement to millions of Nigerians.
If football is a religion, the Super Eagles of Nigeria is a god worshipped by many in one of the most populous nations on earth.
Nigerians are crazy about football and the Super Eagles. The national team reached its peak in the 90s when it won the African Cup of Nations in 94 and qualified for the World Cup in the same year.
Subsequently, the U-23 national team with the nickname The Dream Team won Gold at Atlanta '96. Most of the players in that squad were already playing for the senior team or would go on to play for the Super Eagles.
This era was the golden period of Nigerian football with the Super Eagles present in every aspect of Nigerian life. It was common for pastors to pray in churches for the team during an important match.
Even during the low periods of the Super Eagles, the team remained part of the national consciousness.
Today, Pulse is listing the biggest pop culture moments of the Super Eagles.
1) Rashidi Yekini's iconic goal celebration
The greatest Super Eagles striker of all time Rashidi Yekini made history in 1994 when he became the first Nigerian to score at the World Cup. It was one of his easiest goals, a tap-in, but his celebration stole the scene.
Rashidi Yekini ran into the goal post and stretched his hands to the sky. The great striker looked at the heavens and uttered words no one knows till today. It is the most iconic celebration of the great Super Eagles. The celebration was copied by many school kids shortly after during lunch break games. It's a shame no one asked him what he said when he scored. That goal celebration was one of the lasting images of USA' 94.
2) Super Eagles victory at AFCON 2013 and Olamide on 'Ghost Mode'
In 2012, Phyno teamed up with Olamide to create the now classic rap hit 'Ghost Mode'. On his verse on the song, the YBNL boss rapped "I'm balling like I'm in the World Cup and I'm gonna shine. Other rappers be like Naija dey no dey reach final."
This line was pure facts. After the Nations Cup win in 1994, the Super Eagles won the bronze medal four times and was runners-up once.
However, something happened in 2013. The Super Eagles who no one gave a chance at the African Cup of Nations, defeated Mali 4-1 at the semi-finals to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1994.
That line in Ghost Mode suddenly had a life of its own as the Super Eagles broke the jinx. The team went on to win its 3rd African Cup of Nations title.
3) That Yakubu Aiyegbeni miss and M.I
By 2010, the Super Eagles had hit rock bottom. A ragtag team of professionals represented the nation at the World Cup in South Africa. The Super Eagles performance was nothing to write home about. The squad lost to Argentina and Greece. The last match was against South Korea.
The match was more or less a formality but the plan was to salvage some of our broken pride. The match went down as an epic failure. Nigeria drew the match but the game would be remembered for Aiyegbeni's baffling miss.
All Aiyegbeni had to do was tap the ball into the net. Well, he did that but he somehow missed. Yakubu Aiyegbeni's profile in Nigeria shrunk after that match.
His unforgivable miss was immortalized by M.I later in the year when he rapped "nonsense but do you/and keep missing-Yakubu" on the song 'Beef' of his 2010 album M.I 2.
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