The Super Eagles have given Nigerian fans many beautiful moments and a few sad times. In between, Sunday Oliseh Punched a teammate, Austin Okocha embarrassed a legend, Daniel Amokachi infuriated his manager and Sani Kaita gave way to red rage.
GoalDig brings you all these plus more of the maddest moments involving top Nigerian players.
1. Sunday Oliseh’s Punch Up
Oliseh was never one to swallow an insult. His playing style betrayed his true nature- combative and no-nonsense. Yet he had never had any history of violence with anyone. All his combats started on the field of play and ended there.
That was until Oliseh arrived at Bochum on loan from Borrusia Dortmund to get his career back on track.
He was enjoying a re-birth of sort and having his most productive season in a long while before his altercation with teammate Vahid Hashemian.
After a goalless draw against Hansa Rostock, something the Iranian said or did must have angered Oliseh because the Nigerian could barely wait to get into the tunnel before he picked a scuffle with Vahid.
Hashemian didn’t see the punch coming and by the time the two were done, Vahid was the one with his nose broken.
Bochum sacked Sunday immediately. Dortmund followed suit. And he felt harshly treated.
“It would be wrong to judge me. I was in the Bundesliga for six years and there was never any trouble”.
Oliseh’s career petered out from there.
2. Daniel Amokachi’s Mad Moment
Everton signed Daniel for £3million in 1994 and the following year he had helped the Toffees win the FA Cup. But not without stirring up controversy en route.
In the semi-final against Spurs, Amokachi started on the bench and hated every minute of it. His chance came when Everton’s main striker on the day, Paul Rideout was receiving treatment on the sideline. Daniel Amokachi approached the match official and brought himself on as a substitute, leaving his manager Joe Royle fuming on the Everton bench.
Danny would quickly redeem himself, though, scoring a brace and nearly netting a third. Everton won the match four goals to two and the villain instantly became a hero.
3. Austin Okocha’s Freak Goal
Jay Jay Okocha had long been known as a scorer of great goals. He doesn’t score plenty but when he manages one, it’s almost always a beauty.
But the goal he scored at Karlsruhe while adorning the colours of Frankfurt was as exquisite as it was embarrassing to the opponent’s defence.
Okocha dribbled inside Karlsruhe’s penalty box, going past some defenders twice before rolling the ball past another legend-in-the-making, Oliver Kahn.
It was voted by many as the Goal of the Season in Germany. But it was one that will cause those defenders to cover their faces anytime they see it.
4. Osaze Odemwingie’s Failed Move
Osaze had never had trouble changing teams and he had been to quite a few. Bendel Insurance, La Louviere, Lille, Locomotiv Moscow, even West Brom, he had joined each side in smooth deals. And anywhere he went, Peter guaranteed goals. So he was never short of suitors.
All that was until the January 2013 transfer window. QPR wanted Odemwingie. West Brom were not ready to let him go. Osaze was compelled to hand in a transfer request which WBA duly rejected. It dragged on until transfer deadline day.
He’s yet to reveal what his agent made him believe but Peter drove down to Loftus Road, home of QPR, in an attempt to sign for his ‘new’ club. Camera caught the Nigerian with his pants down as he was refused entry at the gates, for West Brom had not accepted any offer for him.
He swallowed pride and returned home. Osaze took to twitter to vent his fury. WBA fined and disciplined him. It turned messy and his relationship with the club and her fans would never truly mend. At season end, he left for Cardiff City rather unceremoniously.
5. Mikel Obi’s Dramatic U-turn
Mikel Obi’s path to greatness had been marked since he was a teen. However, he nearly ruined it even before he started the journey.
A few days after Obi turned 18, Manchester United announced the capture of the prodigiously talented midfielder who was seen as the heir apparent to the ageing Paul Scholes but had been a long time target of Chelsea.
The deal that would be taking him from Lyn Oslo to England was widely acclaimed as the biggest transfer within Norwegian football. The media even presented Mikel holding United’s jersey number 21 and saying “it’s totally fantastic to come to a great club like Manchester United, not many players my age get that chance”.
But Mikel made a dramatic volte face, appeared on SkySports News and stated that he had been pressured into signing the contract with United. He got Chelsea involved the ensuing tug of war by declaring that the Londoners were the club he genuinely wanted to join.
Mikel then went MIA and Man United accused Chelsea of kidnapping the young boy. Lawyers on both sides were preparing for war.
Then FIFA intervened. The saga was settled out of court as Chelsea agreed to pay Man United £12million to finally get Mikel.
6. Sani Kaita’s Red Rage
It was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first on African soil. Nigeria really wanted to do well. But after losing the first game to Argentina, the Super Eagles badly needed a win against Greece, a team that, at the time, had not won a single match at the Mundial.
All was going to plan. Nigeria had gotten an early goal and was cruising.
Then Sani Kaita happened.
A simple throw-in for Greece far, far away from danger. Under the slightest provocation from a Greek, Kaita just hacked the man down, giving the referee no other choice but to give him his matching orders. It was a pure moment of madness.
Playing almost two-thirds of the game with a man down, the Super Eagles lost the match 2-1 and were out of the World Cup.
Most Nigerians would never forgive Sani Kaita after that incident.
7. Nwankwo Kanu’s Innocent Ignorance
After only managing just a solitary goal in three years for Internazionale, Papilo joined Arsenal desperate to impress and get his career back on track.
And what better time to start than on your debut. Well, it would turn out to be a debut to forget for Kanu.
The FA Cup. Arsenal were locked in a slug fest with Sheffield United. The tie was evenly poised at one all with ten minutes left on the clock.
The ball was kicked out of touch in fairplay just so a player could receive medical attention. Ray Parlour’s intended throw back to Kelly, in United’s goal, to return ball to play was chased down by Nwankwo Kanu. Kanu, completely unaware of the circumstances, squared the ball unchallenged for Marc Overmars to score. Arsenal won 2-1.
It was egg to the face of the Nigerian striker. A most unusual debut.
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s manager, offered Sheffield United a replay in a bid to right the wrong. It was accepted and fortunately for Kanu, Arsenal won that as well 2-1.