Captain of Nigeria’s 1980 AFCON-winning Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) Christian Chukwu says the memory of claiming the biggest continental football prize ‘can never be forgotten,’ 40 years after lifting the title.
Chukwu, who led stars like Segun Odegbami, late Best Ogedegbe, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Felix Owolabi to claim Nigeria’s first-ever AFCON title, thrashing Algeria 3-0 in the final in Lagos exactly 40 years ago on Sunday, recalled what played out on that historic day.
“We are reflecting back, back…….40 years is not 40 days,” the former Super Eagles coach said.
“The whole country was agog, we were showered with gifts: houses, cars and everything.
“And it’s a memory that can never be forgotten.”
A brace by Odegbami and a goal from late Muda Lawal handed Nigeria an impressive 3-0 win against their Algerian counterparts in the final under the watchful eyes of Brazilian coach Otto Gloria.
Forty years down the line, Chukwu, nicknamed Chairman in his playing days, believe a lot of changes have taken place in the game domestically.
“During our own time, we were playing amateur, not professional football,” the 69-year-old informed. “So, we were totally in love of the game we were playing.
“And I will say that football has improved a lot now, there’s a lot of money in it, there is a lot of facilities now; you see stadiums everywhere.
“I think it (football) is in the improving stages.”
A reported planned reception in honour of the surviving members of the victorious 1980 Eagles by the Presidency was suspended due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.