Cape Town (South Africa) – The Nigerian Union in Western Cape, South Africa on Sunday described as miraculous the Super Eagles’ quarter-finals defeat of the Atlas Lions of Morocco at the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
President of the union, Azubuike Oparaugo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Cape Town that the team’s mental strength got them the victory against their North African foes.
He added that the players had made Nigerians residing in Cape Town and South Africa as a whole to be very proud of their resolute performance.
“I will say that history repeated itself in our match against Morocco. I want to liken our performance to what happened to the Flying Eagles in the `Damman Miracle’ of 1989.
“If you remember very well, Nigeria were 0-4 down against the Soviet Union (now Russia) and the team had to fight and equalise, and they eventually won the match.
“What happened yesterday (Saturday) in Cape Town was another “Damman Miracle’’.
“A message has been sent out by the Super Eagles, and not just about the 2014 CHAN but about the 2014 World Cup finals. It has come to show that football has come of age in Nigeria.
“What happened yesterday (Saturday) was a great miracle and the community is very happy about the development,’’ he said.
When asked to describe how he felt when the Eagles were 0-3 down during the match, Oparaugo told NAN he had remained calm in spite of the difficult situation.
“I had to leave the VIP section, where I sat, to join the Nigeria Supporters Club to clap and sing to encourage the boys.
“But, in spite of all, I did not lose faith in the boys and I believed that they would turn the tables against their opponents.
“By the time we scored the equaliser in the 90th minute, I knew the match would be ours,’’ the president of the Nigeria Union in Western Cape said.
He said the team would still perform better in subsequent matches, adding that Nigerians were yet to see the best of the team made up of players from the domestic league.
NAN reports that the competition, which is in its third edition, was introduced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 2009.
It was meant to provide a viable platform for African players featuring in their domestic leagues to showcase their skills.
The 2014 tournament which commenced on Jan. 11 in three centres across South Africa will end on Feb. 1 in Cape Town.(NAN)