Opinion : The World Cup appearance Nigerians would love to substitute for Qatar 2022Published: November 27, 2022
Nigeria's absence at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is deeply saddening and has undeniably affected the national team players' worth on the transfer market.
The Super Eagles made a debut appearance at the World Cup in USA '94 and exited the tournament in the round of 16 after a 2-1 defeat against the Italian side inspired by Roberto Baggio.
The team paraded by Clemens Westerhof was highly rated. They were the African champions after all.
The Eagles were even rated as the second best entertaining side in the States behind eventual champions Brazil because of the quality of their play.
The Nigerian national team was a big brand and was one of the top 12 ranked national teams in the world.
France '98 also saw the team reach the World Cup round of 16 stages before a 4 - 1 1 capitulation in the hands of Denmark.
A win would have seen the Eagles take on Brazil in the quarterfinals but a disagreement over match bonuses and other entitlements caused rift in the camp.
Despite this hiccup, there were some great positives for the team in France like the 3-2 win against Spain in the group stage and Austin Okocha's individual performance in that humbling by the Danes.
In Korea/Japan 2002, the team were eliminated in the group stages after two defeats to Argentina and Sweden and a draw against England.
The team to Korea/Japan had a couple of great players like Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yovo and Julius Aghahowa but most of the other members of the team were only promising at best or were outrightly not good enough for the biggest stage of football.
The Eagles failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany Despite winning the last qualifying match.
The team's previous 1-1 draw at home against Angola in Kano in no small way affected the team's chances.
The Eagles returned to the world stage in 2010, 2014 and 2018. They got to the knockout stages in the latter two but did not make it through when South Africa hosted the world in 2010.
But looking at the past appearances by the team, a look at the 2002 Finals in Korea and Japan would rank as the one that most Nigerians will love to substitute for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the opinion of All Nigeria Soccer.
The team that played that year at the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali were altered and the likes of Finidi George, Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba, and a few others were not on the plane to Asia due to internal wrangling in the team between the then Nigeria Football Association's technical department and the coaching crew of the team.
Had the 2022 Super Eagles been awash with some of the players that were dropped, perhaps the World Cup of that year would have been a better outing for the team.
The team that went close to qualification for the 2006 tournament in Germany were not a bad side but it iis debatable which of the Eagles between that year's and the 2022 is stronger and would have performed better.
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