For Nigerian sports, the year 2022 was marked by moments of celebration and moments of sadness.
While many may not see it as a successful year for the sports industry, there are some notable events that brought smiles to the faces of sports lovers in Nigeria and will never be forgotten.
Eventful memories can be listed as such:
1. The national senior soccer team, the Super Eagles, lose the 2022 World Cup qualifying ticket to Ghana.
The Super Eagles lose the ticket to the 2022 World Cup against Ghana
Eagles lost the 2022 World Cup ticket to Ghana due to poor tactics. Remember that in March, the Super Eagles were left out of world soccer’s top competition after failing to beat arch-rivals Ghana at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
Although the match ended 1-1 in Abuja, and 1-1 on aggregate, Ghana’s away goal secured the World Cup ticket for the Black Stars. That goal was worth double if the game ended 1-1. The Eagles thus faltered at the last obstacle with almost everything in their favor.
Reacting to the team’s elimination in an exclusive interview in March, former Kwara United manager Samson Unuanel told Completesports.com that Eguavoen should have changed tactics when the game was not going in his team’s favor. “This is a game we should have.”
The Super Eagles, in the first leg, failed to defeat the Black Stars on the latter’s home ground in Kumasi. The match ended in a goalless draw. Consequently, the result sent the Ghanaian Black Stars to Qatar, having scored an away goal in Abuja.
2. FG suspending basketball for two years:
It has been a tumultuous year for basketball in Nigeria after the Federal Government in May suspended the sport in Nigeria for two years.
Although the government rescinded its decision to suspend Nigerian basketball teams from all international competition in June, the period will go down as one to remember in the sports industry history books.
The ban came on the heels of the never-ending crisis plaguing the sector, as Sports Minister Sunday Dare claimed the sport needed a grassroots revamp, as did the national leagues to see it thrive again.
3. Tobi Amusan’s 12.12 seconds at the World Athletics Championships:
Tobi Amusan, the 25-year-old Nigerian sprinter, stunned the track and field world with a record time of 12.12 seconds in the semifinals of the event, breaking the six-year-old record held by American Kendra Harrison. She became Nigeria’s first world champion at the World Championships in Athletics, with a gold medal in the 100m hurdles.
Speaking shortly after setting the world record, Amusan emphasized that time was not his priority but the gold medal. “The goal was to go out there and win this gold,” he said. “Honestly, I believe in my abilities, but I didn’t expect a world record at these championships.”
Nigerian sprinter, Tobi Amusan, was a personality that made Nigerians smile this year, breaking records in various world and continental competitions in which she participated.
This year, Tobi Amusan was awarded the national honor of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, named Tobi Amusan of Nigeria as the best female athlete in Africa for the year 2022.
The Nigerian hurdler is affectionately called ‘Tobi Express’.
4. The Flemings qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup semi-final for the first time:
In October, the Nigerian women’s national junior soccer team, the Flamingos, became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, after defeating the United States in sensational fashion.
The girls led by Bankole Olowookere accomplished the feat after defeating the United States 4-3 on penalties at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
It was after the 90 minutes of soccer ended 1-1, the game was decided via penalty shootout with the Flamingos triumphing 4-3 to qualify for the first time in the semi-finals.
Even though they would go on to lose to Colombia in the semifinal and claim the bronze medal in third place, breaking the curse of the semifinal itself was historic.
5. Successful XXI National Sports Festival, Delta 2022:
The 21st National Sports Festival named Delta 2022 was successfully held in the state of Delta. The festival was held from November 28 to December 10, with the participation of athletes from 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, competing for the first position in the medal table.
The Delta team was officially declared the winner of the 21st National Sports Festival in Asaba, the state capital.
Delta won 320 gold, 200 silver and 128 bronze medals to surpass 35 other states and the Federal Capital Territory to stay on top of the Nigerian sports party.
Delta’s neighbor, Bayelsa, came second with 132 gold, 115 silver and 90 bronze medals, followed by another of its neighbors, Edo, which hosted the 20th edition of the festival. Edo won 78 gold, 94 silver and 167 bronze medals to make it a South-South affair in the top three rankings.
The Nigerian News Agency reported that no fewer than 14,000 athletes participated in 38 sports at the festival.
The next edition will take place in 2024 in Ogun State.
It is worth noting that at the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, the unity of the country was seriously threatened. The then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, started the National Sports Festival in 1973 as a platform to bring together youth from all parts of the country to compete, using sport as a tool to achieve national recovery after the brutal civil war. of 30 months. .