When Kanu Nwankwo Was Left in Tears As Jay Jay Okocha, Tijani Babangida Looked Helpless

When Kanu Nwankwo Was Left in Tears As Jay Jay Okocha, Tijani Babangida Looked Helpless

Babajide Orevba
September 16, 2023 at 10:27 AM
  • Kanu Nwankwo missed his take during a penalty shootout as Cameroon defeated Nigeria to win AFCON in 2000
  • It had ended 2-2 in regulation time, but the Indomitable Lions won 4-3 after the shootout
  • Nigerian players and home fans watched in shock as Rigobert Song lifted the title right in Lagos

Over 60,000 football fans packed themselves inside the main bowl of the Nigerian national stadium in Lagos as Cameroon defeated the co-host nation to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000.

Ghana and Nigeria hosted the tournament, but the Indomitable Lions went home with the trophy, leaving the home fans hapless.

Kanu Nwankwo was inconsolable as Jay Jay Okocha, Tijani Babangida, and other Super Eagles players watched with shock, while the opposition team celebrated with glee.

Kanu Nwankwo, Jay Jay Okocha, AFCON 2000 Super Eagles
Kanu Nwankwo was left disappointed as Cameroon beat Nigeria to win AFCON in 2000. Photo: Matthew Ashton
Source: Getty Images

Nigeria’s run to the final

Drawn in Group D, the Super Eagles began their campaign at the tournament with a 4-2 win over Tunisia, but Congo held them to a goalless draw in their second group game.

The home team defeated Morocco in their final preliminary game to top the group with seven points, setting up a quarter-final clash with Senegal.

Khalilou Fadiga put the Teranga Lions ahead in the 7th minute, but substitute Julius Aghahowa struck two late goals to give Nigeria the win.

Tijani Babangida had a filled day in the semi-final, netting a brace in their 2-0 win over South Africa.

Nigeria vs Cameroon final

Prior to this fixture, Cameroon had beaten Nigeria in 1984 and 1988 to win two AFCON titles, and they completed a hat-trick of victories over the Super Eagles yet again.

Samuel Eto’o and Patrick Mboma struck to put their side 2-0 midway into the first half, but Raphael Ndukwe Chukwu pulled one back for the home team on the stroke of half-time.

Two minutes into the second half, Jay Jay Okocha fired home from outside the area to send fans in the arena wild, making it 2-2.

The epic fixture headed into a penalty shootout, but Kanu Nwankwo and Victor Ikpeba failed to convert their penaltykicks. The Indomitable Lions won the tie 4-3 after the spot kicks to claim their third continental title.

Tears in Super Eagles camp

Kanu Nwankwo and Sunday Oliseh were inconsolable as soon as the final whistle sounded. Jay Jay Okocha was captured trying to console his teammates.

Coach Jo Bonfrere was not left out as he watched with total shock, that Nigeria have once again lost an AFCON title to their neighbours.

Fans in the stadium watched haplessly as Rigobert Song was handed the prestigious title right in Nigeria.

Nigeria seal AFCON 2023 qualification

Sports Brief earlier reported that Nigeria have sealed qualification to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations slated for Ivory Coast in January following a 6-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe in the final qualifying match.

Heading into this fixture, Jose Peseiro's side had confirmed their place in next year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament, but they needed to guarantee top spot in Group A of the qualifying series.

The Super Eagles will head to the tournament, which starts in January, as one of the favourites.

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Babajide Orevba
HOD- Local Desk
NigeriaAustin Jay Jay OkochaNwankwo KanuAfrica Cup of Nations - AFCON