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The Golden Eaglets Crash Out at the Quarter Final at Scotland 1989
The 1995 tour held in Canada was a bitter pill in the mouth of the Golden Eaglets and they were determined to make amends in the 1989 tour which was hosted by Scotland. In a group that included 1987 hosts Canada, PR China and tournament favorites Argentina, the Golden Eaglets were expected to easily advance to the quarterfinals. Bookmakers were already tipping the Nigerians to win the trophy before the tournament even started.
They lived up to their billing in their first game when they beat Canada 4-0, with Kayode Keshinro scoring twice in the 27th and 75th minutes before Babajide Oguntuwase and Victor Ikpeba put the game beyond the Canadians with two excellent goals in the 56th. and the 78th minute. They then drew 0-0 with Argentina in their second game. In their final group game against China, the Golden Eaglets defeated China PR with a 3-0 blowout, and they sent a jitter down the spine of other countries that were already avoiding the Golden Eaglets. Olusegun Fetuga, Victor Ikpeba and Sunny Umoru were on the scoresheet in an encounter that saw the Nigerians completely dominate proceedings.
In the quarterfinals, the Golden Eaglets were paired with Saudi Arabia and most sports analysts labeled the encounter as a David vs. Goliath rematch.
They were referring to the physically large Saudis compared to the smaller sized Nigerians. The Golden Eaglets would not be daunted, however, as they battled the Saudi Arabians to a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
The match had to be decided by penalties as happened two years ago.
It was a game filled with plenty of intrigue as the Golden Eagles went head-to-head with the giant goalkeeper from Saudi Arabia. The match eventually ended 2-0 in favor of the Saudis, who went on to lift the trophy. The Nigerians were so unlucky as Bobolayefa Edun, Sunny Umoru, Patrick Mancha and Chiedu Anazonwu all missed spot kicks while Saud Al Hammali and Jabarti Al Shamrani scored for Saudi Arabia to put the game beyond the Nigerian hopefuls.
Several players from the Nigerian team in Scotland 1989 later moved on to the senior national team after flourishing in their various teams. Topping the list was Victor Nosa Ikpeba, who was nicknamed “The Prince of Monaco”. Victor Ikpeba eventually won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1997. Benedict Akwuegbu, Godwin Okpara and Precious Monye are also notable names who shone for both club and country.
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