AFCON 2021: Okocha, Yekini and facts about Nigeria in Africa’s biggest event
The 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Sunday, January 9, with Nigeria one of the 24 teams contesting for the biggest prize in African football.
Nigeria will be going for a fourth title when the competition starts, having won in 1980, 1994, and 2013. The Super Eagles begin their quest with a clash against Egypt on Tuesday.
However, before the ball is kicked, Soccernet highlights some special facts about Nigeria and its players in the competition’s history.
1980- The year Nigeria won its first AFCON title. The Super Eagles hosted the competition this year, and they made the home advantage count, beating Algeria 3-0 in the final, courtesy of Segun Odegbami’s brace and Muda Lawa’s goal.
1000- Austin Jay-Jay Okocha scored the 100th goal in the history of the competition. Okocha achieved this feat by scoring Nigeria’s second goal in the 4-0 win over South Africa in 2004.
15- This will be Nigeria’s 19th appearance in the competition, and in the team’s 18 previous appearances, the Super Eagles have won a medal on 15 occasions.
6- Kanu Nwankwo is the Nigerian player with the most tournament appearances (6). The ex-captain made his debut in the competition in 2000 before making more appearances at the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions.
Surprisingly, Kanu never scored a goal for Nigeria in the competition.
13- Rashidi Yekini is Nigeria’s record goalscorer with 13 goals. The late striker is also the only Super Eagles star to finish as the top scorer in back-back competitions.
7- The number of times a Nigerian star finished as the top scorer in the competition. Segun Odegbami (1980), Rashidi Yekini (1992, 1994), Julius Aghahowa (2000), Jay-Jay Okocha (2004), Emmanuel Emenike (4), and Odion Ighalo (2019) have all finished as the top scorer in different AFCON tournaments.
1- Tijani Babangida scored one of the fastest goals in the history of the competition. The ex-Ajax star put Nigeria ahead inside the opening minute in the 2-0 win over South Africa in 2000.
4- Rashidi Yekini is the only Nigerian to score in four different tournaments.
51- The Super Eagles have the third-highest number of wins (51) in the competition’s history. The three-time champions are only behind Ghana (54) and Egypt (57).
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