Football is the biggest sport in Nigeria. It is the most-watched, most played, and most popular sport in the entire country. The history of football in Nigeria dates back to the early 1930s when they played other colonies in unofficial games. However, it wasn’t until that Nigeria played its first official game in October 1949, while still a British colony.
Since then, Nigeria has achieved so many footballing records at the men’s national team, women’s national team, and youth levels. They have won so many trophies, and many Nigerian players have won a lot of different individual trophies.
Today, I bring you some of the top football records held by Nigeria.
1. Most Decorated Team in The AFCON
Nigeria is the most decorated team in the Africa Cup of Nations history. The men’s national team has won 15 medals (three gold, four silver, and eight bronze). They also have the record for the most bronze medal won.
2. Most Trophies Won At the Under 17 World Cup
The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria has the record for most trophies won at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup with 5 (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013, 2015). They also have the record for most finishes in the top two and top three of the tournament.
3. Most Goals Scored In The FIFA Under 17 Tournament
Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen holds the record for most goals scored (10) in a FIFA Under 17 World Cup tournament with 15. He achieved that feat in 2015.
4. Fastest Goal In An Under 17 World Cup Final
Nigerian midfielder, Wilson Prima scored the fastest goal at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup Final in 1993. In the games against Ghana, he scored in the 3rd minute.
5. Most Goals Scored By One Team At The FIFA Under 17 World Cup
Manu Garba’s lads were in fine form at the 2013 FIFA World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. They scored 26 goals in total, making it the most goals in a tournament by one team.
6. First African Team to Win Olympic Gold in Football
Nigeria Olympic men’s football team won the football event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, defeating powerhouses such as Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina in the process. The Dream Team were the first African team to achieve that feat, before Cameroon in 2000.
7. Most Successful Team In the Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations
The Under-20 national team of Nigeria also known as the Flying Eagles has won the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations the most times. They have won it 7 times (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005, 2009, and 2015).
8. Most Successful Team In The African Women’s Championship
The Nigeria national women’s football team, nicknamed the Super Falcons has won the African Women’s Championship 11 times (1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018).
9. Most African Women’s Footballer of the Year Award
Nigerian Perpetua Nkwocha won the award a record four times. The Nigerian football legend, Perpetua Nkwocha also owns the record for most goals scored in a single tournament at the African Women’s Championship (11).
10. Most Matches Lost At The FIFA Women’s World Cup
Midfielder, Florence Omagbemi holds the record for most matches lost at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. From 1991 to 2003, she lost 10 matches in the tournament.
11. First Woman to Win the African Women Cup of Nations as Both Player and Coach.
Florence Omagbemi didn’t just lose the most at the World Cup, she also holds a very unique football record. I HVn 2016, she became the first woman to win the Africa Women Cup of Nations as both a player and coach. After the sacking of Christopher Danjuma, she was announced as an interim coach of the senior national side for the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations, which she won. While as a player, she won the African Women’s Championship 4 times in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004.
12. Youngest Player And Captain At The FIFA Women’s World Cup
Ifeanyi Chiejine became the youngest player in the FIFA Women’s World Cup when she made her debut against North Korea on 20 June 1999. She was 16 years, 34 days then. Nigeria also holds the record for naming the youngest captain at the prestigious women’s competition. Aged 19 years and 261 days, Nkiru Okosieme was named captain for the match against Germany on 17 November 1991.
13. World Record for Distance Traveled on Bicycle With a Football on the Head
On March 6 2016, Nigerian footballer, Harrison Chinedu set a new Guinness World Record for most distance traveled on bicycle with a football on the head, 103.6km. The Cambodia-based footballer set the record after he walked from the Redemption camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, which is a total distance of 48.08km. He then cycled 64 miles with a football on his head, and entered the Guinness Book of Records.
14. Most Consecutive Soccer Ball Touches in One Minute While Balancing a Second Ball on the Head
12-year-old Chinonse Eche is the youngest ever Nigerian to have won a Guinness world record for most consecutive football touches in one minute while balancing another football on the head. The young lad managed 111 football touches in 60 seconds while a second ball was balanced on his head, earning him a place in the 2021 edition of the Guinness World Records.