As 2018 draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the amazing sporting year that was. Nigeria had some amazing sporting highlights from a win over Iceland in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to glory on the Gold Coast in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
We’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of the five most memorable sporting moments for Nigerians in 2018.
Image source: Brila.net
Super Eagles overcome Iceland at the World Cup
Iceland have long been seen as giant killers. Despite the size of the country, they endeared themselves to football fans from around the world with their performances at the 2016 UEFA Euro competition
which saw them draw 1-1 with Portugal, and beat England 2-1.
It comes as no surprise that they were favourites going into the 2018 FIFA World Cup clash against Nigeria, especially after they managed to hold Leo Messi’s Argentina to a 1-1 draw just a week before.
Nigeria and Ahmed Musa had other plans, though. Musa scored a brace for the Super Eagles, which left the team full of confidence and the nation celebrating. Unfortunately, a 2-1 loss to Argentina in their last group game sent the Super Eagles crashing out of the competition.
Image source: Guardian.ng
Gold Coast Glory
Team Nigeria finished with a total of 24 medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, placing 9th
overall as the second-highest African team, just three places below South Africa.
The medal tally was made up of nine golds, nine silvers and six bronze medals. Four of Team Nigeria’s gold medals were won on the powerlifting platform, three on the wrestling mat and two on the athletics track. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of the lot was Suwaibidu Galadima’s gold medal in the Men’s 100m T47 event.
Image source: Makingofchamps.com
Nigerian Ice Blazers at the Winter Olympics
From the heat of the Gold Coast to the snow in Pyeongchang. Nigeria debuted at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where they entered three female bobsledders – Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere who finished 19th
in the two-woman competition, and Simidele Adeagbo who finished 20th
in the women’s event.
Although they placed last in both the Skeleton and the two-woman events, there is no doubt that the ladies made Nigeria proud. Coming from a country where snow is basically unheard of, they were never going to be favourites. The fact that they qualified and competed is a statement in itself.
Image source: Supersport.com
Super Falcon’s win third consecutive AWCON
After a nail-biting penalty shootout in the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations final, the Super Falcon’s managed to overcome South Africa to lift their third consecutive AWCON title and their 11th
After a rocky start to the competition, which saw them go down 1-0 to South Africa in their opening game, the Nigeria Women’s team managed to completely outplay Zambia and Equatorial Guinea in the group stages, amassing 10 goals in the process.
Penalties were the order of the day in the semi-finals and finals which saw the Super Falcons overcome Cameroon (2-4) and exact revenge on South Africa (4-3) in the final.
Image source: Pulse.ng
D’Tigress at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
Following on from a defeat against Australia in their opening game of the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball
World Cup, D’Tigress bounced back and managed to secure shocking – although amazing – wins over Turkey, Argentina and Greece.
The next challenge would prove a step too far for the side as they stumbled against defending champions, the USA, in the quarterfinals. Despite holding a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and trailing by just four points going into halftime, D’Tigress couldn’t get the job done.
They will, however, always be remember for the brave effort they put in and the pride they brought to all of Nigeria.
2018 provided a whirlwind of emotion. From the highs of winning the AWCON to the lows of being knocked out of the World Cup, Nigerian sports fans experienced it all. 2019 will prove to be both exciting and challenging for Nigerian sports teams as the calendar fills with thrilling challenges for all teams.
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