BLOW BY BLOW ACCOUNT OF EVENTS THAT SHAPED THE SYSTEM
Nigeria in SA 2010
Just yesterday, the year, 2010, rolled into the archives, never to be relived again. For Nigerian sports, it was a year to remember. When it got of the starting block about now 365 days ago, it raised hope and expectations.
Expectedly, it was characterised by suspense, tension, drama, the unexpected and indeed, everything that makes the sizzling world of sports tick. There were for example frenzies of success and celebrations, agonies of deaths and defeats, intrigues and politicking; they all gave 2010 the character of a mixed bag.
Welcome to a review of the issues that defined Nigerian sports in 2010.
Angola 2010: Big event that kick-started the circle
Nigeria participated at the 28th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Angola and won bronze medal after defeating Algeria 1-0 in the third place match thanks to Victor Obinna Nsofor's strike.
The Super Eagles played in Group C alongside Mozambique, Benin Republic and Egypt and placed second with six points in the group after winning two matches and losing 3-1 to Egypt in the opener.
A.K. Amu passed on at 77
Former Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) president and Olympian, A. K. Amu, died at the age of 77. He represented Nigeria first time at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, and thereafter captained the country at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and the one of 1964 in Tokyo, Japan.
Shaibu Amodu sacked as Eagles' coach
Super Eagles' manager, Shaibu Amodu, was shown the exit after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) succumbed to pressure to relieve him of his job months before the kick off of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He was heavily criticised for his tactics after leading the Eagles to a third place finish at the Angola 2010 Africa Nations Cup.
The sack was the second time Amodu suffered the same kind of fate after getting Nigeria qualified for the World Cup. The first was before the trip to Korea/Japan in 2002.
Lagerback became Nigeria's team manager
Former Sweden coach, Lars Lagerback, was appointed by the NFF on a five-month contract to manage the Super Eagles. He was to guide the national team to the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa after the NFF sacked Coach Shaibu Amodu as the team's manger.
Lagerback was chosen ahead of the trio of Glenn Hoddle, Sven-Goran Eriksson and former coach of Senegal, Bruno Metsu.
Owumi elected NPL chairman
Controversial elections into the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) board was held in May with former league top scorer and one-time team manager of Rangers International of Enugu, Davidson Owumi, emerging as chairman. He replaced Chief Oyuki Obaseki.
Others elected into the board were Shehu Gusau, Akin Akinbobola, Adbulahi Danbaba, Victor Rumsom Baribote, Adedayo Wopa and Joseph Wopa.
South Africa 2010: Nigeria was there
The Super Eagles participated at the 19th FIFA World Cup, which held in South Africa from June 11 – July 11. The country finished dismally at the bottom of Group B table with a solitary point after losing 1-0 to Argentina in the opening game, 2-1 to Greece in the second and drawing 2-2 to South Korea in the last tie. The country still had the rare opportunity of qualifying for the next round if she won her last encounter against the Koreans, but the Eagles did not.
The high points of the tournament for Nigeria were the sending off of Sani Keita in the encounter against Greece and Yakubu Aiyegbeni's miss against South Korea inside the six-yard box.
President Jonathan banned Nigeria from FIFA activities
On June 30, 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the suspension of NFF from FIFA-organised competitions for two years following the crisis in the nation's football body. He later rescinded on his decision after concerned Nigerians, who reasoned that the action would negatively affect the future of Nigerian youths, made several appeals to him. The ban was later lifted on July 5, 2010.
Nigeria came 2nd at Africa Senior Athletics Championship in Kenya
The Nigerian contingent to the 17th edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championship in Kenya, finished second on the medals table with eight gold, five silver and five bronze behind host Kenya. South Africa finished third.
Nigeria picked 3 silver at WJC in Canada
Nigeria took part at the 13th IAAF World Junior Championships in July in Moncton, Canada, winning three silver medals. Margaret Etim took silver in the women's 400m, timing 53.05sec. Nigeria won the rest of the two medals in the women's 4x400m relay and men's 4x400m relay.
Lulu, Amanze, Ojo-Oba sacked
The crisis in the NFF, on July 4, took a dramatic twist with the sacking of the trio of the Federation's President, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, First Vice President, Amanze Uchegbulam and its Technical Committee Chairman, Taiwo Ogunjobi, by nine members of the Executive Committee. The Committee went ahead to announce Alhaji Aminu Maigari as the acting president of the board and Obinna Ogba as its first vice president.
Super Falconets grabbed silver at FIFA U-20 WWC
The Super Falconets participated and finished with the silver medal at the FIFA World Under-20 Women's World Cup hosted by Germany from July 13-August 1. The team finished second on the Group C table with five points behind Mexico. In the quarterfinal, it defeated USA 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 score line at regulation time. The team defeated Columbia 1-0 in the semi-final before going down 2-0 in the final to host on August 1.
Lagerback dumped Eagles' job
Following the dismal performance of the Super Eagles at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Lars Lagerback, believing he had had enough, chose to stay back in Sweden even when he faced very bright prospects extending his contract by two years.
Maigari emerged as NFF president
Former acting president of NFF, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, was elected as the substantive president of the football body following elections conducted on August 26 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. Alhaji Maigari beat other top contenders like Alhaji Shehu Dikko, Chief Oyuki Obaseki, Mr Fan Ndubuoke, Lumumba Adeh and Alhaji Sani Toro to clinch the position.
Eguavoen resumed as Eagles' temporary manager
The NFF asked Austin Eguavoen to takeover the Super Eagles after the exit of Coach Lagerback. He was as an assistant to the Swede during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He was to pilot the Eagles as they played their qualifying matches ahead of the Gabon/Equatorial Guinea Nations Cup in 2012, but he has since been replaced by Coach Samson Siasia.
Ujiri: First African NBA team's GM
Nigeria's Masai Ujiri, former scouting manager of Toronto Raptors, was appointed General Manager of Denver Nuggets in Denver USA. He becomes the first African to be appointed GM of the prestigious National Basketball Association (NBA).
Enyimba lifted Glo Premier League
The People's Elephant, Enyimba International of Aba, won the 2009/10 Globacom Premier League. By that feat, the two-time CAF Champions League winner sealed its sixth league title. The Aba side followed it up with victory in the Super Cup that was played in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. Four teams – Kano Pillars, Sunshine Stars of Akure and Kwara United of Ilorin took part in the competition.
Court annulled NFF elections
A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on September 7, nullified the August 26 elections into the board of the NFF following a plea brought before it by the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF).
Justice Okon Abang, ruled that the elections were null and void because they were held contrary to a court order. He, therefore, ordered the most senior official at the NFF Secretariat to take over the running of the office and tasked the Inspector General of Police to provide security around the area to ensure that the newly elected board members would not assume duty until fresh elections were held.
Peter humiliated by Wladimir Klitschko
'Nigerian Nightmare', Samuel Peter, on Saturday, September 11, failed in his bid to claim the WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles from Wladimir Klitschko, who defeated him after a 10th-round stoppage in Frankfurt Germany.
Nigeria finished 9th on C'wealth Games' table
Nigerian was part of the party to the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, from October 3-14. The country finished at the ninth position on the table with 35 medals comprising 11 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze.
Nigeria's participation at the event was, however, blighted by allegations of two of her athletes – Damola Osayomi and Samuel Okon failing dope tests.
Super Falcons clinched 7th AWC title
The Super Falcons stormed to a 4-2 victory over their Equatorial Guinean counterparts and reclaimed the Africa Women Championship (AWC) trophy they lost two years ago. Striker, Pepertua Nkwocha, placed more icing on the cake of the Falcons by winning the Highest Goal Scorers' Award following her 11 goals at the biennial competition, which held from October 31- November 14.
Siasia appointed Super Eagles' coach
On November 4, the board of the NFF announced the appointment of Samson Siasia as the new Super Eagles' helmsman. He was chosen ahead of his compatriot and former teammate, Stephen Keshi, on a four-year contract subject to be reviewed in the next two years.
Amos Adamu banned by FIFA
Nigeria's Dr Amos Adamu, on Thursday, November 18, was given a three-year ban from football activities and in addition, handed a 10,000 Swiss franc (£6,341) fine by FIFA's Ethics Committee after he was found guilty of cash for vote charge in the run off to the appointment of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. He was banned alongside his fellow Executive Committee member, Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, who was suspended for a year and also fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,170).
The duo was investigated after the Sunday Times of London published a damming report alleging that they demanded cash to cast their votes for countries bidding to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.
Death snapped Emmanuel Ogoli, Lion Man
A bout of death hit the Nigerian sporting scene when on December 12, Bayelsa United's defender, Emmanuel Ogoli, slumped and died in Yenagoa during his clubs game with visiting Niger Tornadoes of Minna. This was followed by the death of Christopher Okechukwu a.k.a. Lion Man, after losing his fight against Power Lee via technical knockout at the Ultimate Wrestling and Charity Organisation of Nigeria Championship in Lagos.
MTN grabbed NPL sponsorship rights
MTN Nigeria, at last, won the sponsorship of the Nigerian Premier League rights amid controversy. The telecommunications giant would be paying the sum of N2.56billion to the title owners in the next four years.
Sharks lifted WAFU Cup
Sharks FC of Port Harcourt, tutored by Flying Eagles' Coach, John Obuh, on Sunday, December 26, lifted the West African Football Union (WAFU) trophy to end the year for the country on a high. The Garden City outfit outclassed CASA Sports of Senegal to win the trophy.
NPL Chairman, Owumi, sacked
The NFF Congress, which sat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State this week, sacked the Chairman of NPL, Davidson Owumi, and ordered for fresh elections into the board within 14 days.