Eagles Football Player With Wife Who Is A Soccer Player 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship – Flying Eagles Wobble and Fumble At Home

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1999 FIFA World Youth Championship – Flying Eagles Wobble and Fumble At Home

In 1999, Nigeria hosted the 12th edition of the FIFA World Youth Championship. That was the year; The Flying Eagles were tagged “Soaring and Soaring”. They began their World Cup campaign on home soil in an embarrassing manner, with a draw against Germany, who they beat, before Julius Aghahowa scored the opener in the 20th minute of the game to draw 1–1 against lowly Costa Rica. 2-0. Ganiyu Shittu and Hashimu Garba scored in the 69th and 81st minutes respectively.

Their last group match was against Paraguay, and they were left reeling in front of a capacity crowd that had come to cheer them on to victory. Ganiyu Shittu scored a consolation goal in the 38th minute of the game to end the match against Paraguay 2–1 in favor of Paraguay. The Flying Eagles, however, qualified for the round of 16 by the skin of their teeth.

In the round of 16, the Flying Eagles fought back to draw 1–1 against Ireland with a 70th-minute equalizer from diminutive striker Pius Ikedia. The game then went to a penalty shoot out and millions of Nigerians had their hearts in their mouths throughout the duration of the kick. They eventually went the way of the Flying Eagles who scraped by 5-3. Pius Ikedia, Gbenga Okunowo, John Aranka, Eddie Dombre and Ganiyu Shittu all converted their spot kicks. Republic of Ireland’s Thomas Heary misses a spot kick to set up a quarter-final tie between Nigeria and Mali.

The Flying Eagles had their work cut out for the Malians as they found the Malians too hot to handle in the quarter-final clash played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu East, Nigeria. The Malians were ruthless in their quarter-final encounter, beating the flightless Eagles 3-1 when it mattered most. The main troublemaker for the Flying Eagles was Malian enterprising midfielder Seydou Keita who later emerged as an Adidas Golden Ball award winner.

The loss to the hapless Flying Eagles caused an uproar in sporting circles, eventually leading to the sacking of Dutch coach Thijs Liebregts from the Nigeria Under-20 national team’s technical squad. The team had a lot of potential, but they couldn’t utilize their full potential. Some of the notable players from that team include: Joseph Yobo, Rabiu Afolabi, Julius Aghahowa, Haruna Babangida and the late goalkeeper Sam Okoye.

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