The memorable sporting moments are local and international events that dominated conversations in Nigeria.
In 2018, there were a couple of sporting moments that are the most memorable to Nigerians. From the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Super Eagles win over Iceland in Russia and the launch of the Super Eagles and Nike jerseys.
For this End of the Year list, we take a look at the 10 most memorable sporting moments for Nigerians. These are local and international events that dominated conversations in Nigeria.
1. Super Eagles 2-0 win over Iceland (Football)
The celebrations that followed Nigeria’s win over Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia left the country quaking from celebrations.
After losing their first game to Croatia, the Super Eagles grabbed all the three points from the game against Iceland courtesy of a brace by Ahmed Musa.
It was a win that brought brief solace to a country that has been left reeling from economic and social collapse.
Sadly, it was just too brief as a 1-2 loss to Argentina in the next game sent Nigeria crashing from the World Cup.
2. The release of Super Eagles jersey (Football)
Before that riveting win against Iceland, the Super Eagles had first turned heads with the launch of their 2018 World Cup kit designed by Nike.
The home kit- a pitch green jersey with white and black patterns-became an instant hit and sold out on the first day of release at the World Cup.
The jersey also enjoyed critical applauses as the influential GQ Magazine name it the best jersey of the 2018 World Cup.
Due to the bust in Nigeria, a lot of Nigerians could not afford to buy the jerseys which gave a huge market to fake jerseys that have since flooded nook and cranny of the country.
3. Nigerian ice blazers at Winter Olympics (Winter Sports)
One woman dreamt it, three kicked off the dream while four achieved it.
Out of Chicago, Illinois in the United States of America, Seun Adigun a former 100 meters hurdle athlete who has won a medal for Nigeria fell in love with Bobsled and introduced it to her friends Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga. Three of them went on to become the first Nigerian athlete to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Inspired by their stories, Simidele Adeagbo, a retired athlete tried on Bobsled and settled on another winter sport, Skeleton.
Together, the four women went on to make history as the first Nigerian athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics.
There has never been any winter season in Nigeria and winter sports are not even remotely popular in Nigeria, but credit to these four women. They took the country’s flag and flew on unfamiliar high grounds.
4. Super Falcons win third consecutive AWCON
With their dominance in African football waning, the Super Falcons still fought hard to win their third straight Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Cameroon.
The country watched in bated breath as the Super Falcons recovered from their opening game loss to win the title in South Africa. They had to deal with a strong Cameroonian team and a very much improved Bayana Bayana of South Africa to win Nigeria’s ninth AWCON title.
5. D’ Tigress at 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup (Basketball)
The performance of Nigeria’s Senior Women Basketball team, the D’ Tigress at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain was one of the most memorable moments for Nigerians in 2018.
They bounced back from a defeat in their opening game against Australia to shocked Turkey with a 74-68 win in the second game, beat Argentina 75-70 before the victory against Greece to advance to the quarterfinals.
But beating the United States was a feat too heavy for them to achieve but they did try and started very well and were ahead after the first quarter.
Despite a fine start, the United States soon established a daylight between them and the Nigerians before sealing a win to book a semi-final ticket.
6. Asaba hosts 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship (Athletics)
The humiliation from the shameful host of the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians.
Chaos marred the opening ceremony of the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships holding as over 300 athletes were stranded after failing to get connecting flights to the host city.
The championship was also marred by poor planning and logistics to the inconvenience of athletes from across Africa.
7. Champions League final (Football)
The Champions League final is the curtain drawer of European club football season which is hugely followed in Nigeria.
All eyes were on perennial winners Real Madrid against in-form Liverpool at the final of the 2018 Champions League in Ukraine.
Pegged back by an injury to star man Mohamed Salah, Liverpool lost their steam and eventually the game 1-3.
8. 2018 FIFA World Cup (Football)
After the end of the European season, all the attention was on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia which gave Nigerian football fans some of the most epic moments in football of the year.
From Cristiano Ronaldo’s hattrick against Spain in the Group stage to Nigeria’s win against Iceland to the final.
9. Super Eagles qualify for AFCON 2019 (Football)
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have not been to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) since they last won it in 2013 Since then, they have missed two, little wonder Nigerians watched with bated breaths as the Super Eagles beat Seychelles and Libya (twice) before sealing qualification with a draw away at South Africa.
10. National Sports Festival returns
Held last in 2012, the National Sports Festival returned in Abuja for the 19th edition. The biennial multi-sport event had not held since the 18th edition in Lagos. The return of the biggest sports event in Nigeria is sure an exciting feat for sports in the country.