The Super Eagles of Nigeria have suffered late minutes goals in the past two decades of participation in several tournaments. And these goals have either denied the Super Eagles an opportunity to progress in tournaments or hindered their chances of immediate progression.
In this brief analysis, Sport Intelligence looks at the goalkeepers that were in post for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, as it observes that current Super Eagles goal keeper Carl Ikeme is the latest to join the list after conceding a late minute goal against Egypt at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
PETER RUFAI (Nigeria vs Italy) USA 1994
Super Eagles hope of progressing to the quarter final stage of the 1994 FIFA World Cup was shattered in the 90th minute of play, when goalkeeper Peter Rufai conceded an outside 18-yard box shot from Italian striker Roberto Baggio. The goal put the score line at 1-1 and dragged the game into extra-time, with the Italians eventually winning at 2-1.
The Super Eagles who earlier took the lead by 1-0 and hoped to go far in the tournament were shown the way out after Rufai conceded the goal, the adulation and glory of the then African champions came to an end.
VINCENT ENYAMA (Nigeria vs Tunisia) 2010 World Cup Qualifier
Nigeria’s hope for making an immediate qualification for the 2010 World cup was halted at the Abuja National stadium before the late Nigerian President Umuaru Yaradua. The Super Eagles where leading the Tunisia national side when the North African’s turned things around in the 91 minutes and scored a shocking equalizer that beat Vincent Enyeama and leveled the scoreline to 2-2, delaying Nigeria’s qualification. Though Nigeria eventually qualified, but they had to wait till the last day of match to qualify.
DELE AIYENUGBA (Nigeria vs Guinea) 2012 AFCON Qualifier
This is arguably one of the saddest late goals conceded by the Super Eagles of Nigeria, after Coach Samson Siasia had picked Dele Aiyenugba ahead of Vincent Enyeama. The Guineans came down to Nigeria and forced the Super Eagles to a 2-2 draw when the Eagles had taken the lead by 2-1. Unnecessary pressure was mounted on the team that they needed a third goal to qualify due to a 1-0 away win by the Guineans in the first-leg. The Eagles came out looking for a third goal, but a quick counter in the 92 minutes of play beat Dele Aiyenugba taking the score line to 2-2. The late goal did not only put the game to 2-2 draw, but it also denied the Super Eagles from qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations, and Coach Samson Siasia was eventually sacked.
VINCENT ENYEAMA (Nigeria vs Burkina Faso) 2013 AFCON Group Stage
Super Eagles 1-0 lead of Burkina Faso in the group stage match of the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa was faced with a shocking 1-1 equalizer while goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was in charge. Nigerians had looked up to a maximum three points in the match with few seconds to final whistle, when Burkina Faso rose to the occasion and scored a 93 minutes goal that ended the Eagles lead and both teams eventually shared one point each. Although, Nigeria finished second in the group behind Burkina Faso, they eventually beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of the tournament to win the trophy.
CARL IKEME (Nigeria vs Egypt) 2017 AFCON Qualifier
Super Eagles of Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against the Pharaohs of Egypt marked the inclusion of Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme into the list of Nigerian goalkeepers who conceded late minutes goal. The joy and jubilation enjoyed at the over-crowded Ahmadu Bello stadium came to a halt when Mohammed Salah scored a 90 minutes goal to level scoreline at 1-1 and denying the Super Eagles of Nigeria an opportunity to go to top of table in the AFCON 2017 qualifier with a maximum point of seven. Mohammed Salah’s late strike beat compelling the Eagles to pursue a compulsory win at Alexandria before qualification can be guaranteed.