By Eddie Akalonu
2013 brought a mixed bag of result for the country but the high points of sports far subsist over the low points.
Super Eagles Fly high at AFCON 2013
Super Eagles, unarguably one of the most feared and flamboyant side in Africa opened the year on a positive note by reclaiming the African Cup of Nations in South Africa after a nineteen year wait. Nigerians saw that gift as awesome but it was the tonic to a blistering performance in sports in the out-going year. Stephen Keshi not only handled the Eagles to a resounding victory, but he has also set the bar high as the first local coach to do so but also won who has won the competition as captain.
The victory has also uplifted the profile of home based players following the contributions of Godfrey Oboabona and Sunday Mbah.
Okagbare cuts the difference
Following the football experience, Blessing Okagbare showed her class as she won a silver medal in the women long jump and a bronze medal in the 200m at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia. She also holds the African record in 100m sprint. By reason of honors and awards bestowed on her by the government and accolades from other quarters, it was evident she had captured both a golden silver and bronze for the country.
Eaglets remain Golden
National under-17 side Golden Eaglets proved their mettle when they outclassed others to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates to give Nigeria her fourth hold on the trophy. This feat follows those achieved in China in 1985, Japan in 1993 and South Korea in 2007. The competition in threw up players regarded as future materials for the senior national teams. Kelechi Iheanacho and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu already have in the Eagles squad bound for the African Nations Championship, CHAN in South Africa in early 2014.
There were other top class performances some being Nigerian wrestlers who proved themselves at the Common-wealth Champion-ships in South Africa and weightlifters who won medals at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Malaysia. Nigerian athletes continued their surge to the zenith of the continental when they won the African Championships title in Port Novo, Benin Republic.
Dearth of competitions for athletes almost in all the sports and elections into national federations that have many still enmeshed in disputes were some of the low points of the year.