As a child, I grew up being told by much older folks that certain events were just a coincidence and nothing else and woe betide you as a child that you argue with your elders, the consequences is that you will either get scolded or have the hand of justice on your backside or in other words, you will be flogged. As I grew older, I began to learn that there events that were coincidental but life was a continuous cycle of events in which things happen in a strange yet accurate manner an example is Rashidi Yekini scoring Nigeria’s first World Cup goal on June 22nd 1994 at USA 94 and 24 years later, Ahmed Musa scored Nigeria’s first goal at Russia 2018 and both goals scored were against European opponents Bulgaria and Iceland respectively
August 12th 1989 and 1996 can be refereed as such incredible days in the history of Nigerian football, a day many would want to forget one and remember the other. For reminders especially for the younger generation of followers of Nigerian football, August 12th 1989 was one of the darkest days in the history of Nigerian football, it was a day that as a ten year old I watched as Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji hit the turf of the Nigerian football never to rise again, Sam gave up the ghost on that day in a World Cup qualifier against Angola, a match Nigeria won by a lone goal. Nigeria won the match but at the price of a patriot. Seven years down the line at the same stadium, the U-23 had a qualifying match against the Young Pharaohs of Egypt which they won 3-2 the same lone goal difference. What got me thinking was that before the kick-off the match there was a minute silence observed on honour of late Samuel Okwaraji and maybe because of that honour the Nigerian team not only won the match the went on to Atlanta and claimed the gold medal in the footballing event, the first ever by an African nation. Now the question is where those two days, August 12th 1989 and 1996 mere coincidental events or where they arranged by the gods of football that Nigerians worship? People let me hear your side for this is where I rest my case.