This gives an insight into the mythical
football match between India and Nigeria which allegedly led to the
former being banned from football competitions over the use of magical
powers on the football pitch.
Virtually everybody born before the
invention of the internet must have heard the tale of a mythical
football match between Nigeria and India that obviously took place in a
parallel universe and somehow we got to hear the gory stories of that
Though there are many variations of the
story, every prevaricator seems to agree on a couple of facts about this
fictional football match.
Each story-teller agrees that;
1. This match ended with India scoring 99 goals and Nigeria scoring just one goal.
2. Nigerians where unable to kick the
ball because the football kept turning into a lion head (or something
scary) to prevent them from playing the soccer ball.
3. The Indians later agreed that if Nigeria could score a goal, they would concede defeat
4. Samuel Okwaraji scored the winning goal and lost his life in the process.
5. FIFA banned India from soccer because they used black magic in that very game
With the help of common sense (not that
it was absent back then), quick access to information and the internet,
every right thinking Nigerian has come to realise that such a story
should be filled under “Blatant Lies”.
Why Did This Story Thrive For So Long?
Most people like to pass off this story
as true with the fact that no one has ever seen India in an
International Football Match.
Since no one actually saw India
participate in most international soccer games, this gave a little
credence to the story. Another reason this lie could thrive for long was
the fact that credible information was not readily available at our
It’s not like every Emeka, Audu and Ojo
could visit Google in a matter of minutes and tell our ominous
fabricators that they should stop spreading toxic lies. And to be honest
we have a tingling feeling that this lie was concocted by an elder of a
community because, let’s be honest who questions the words of the
elders in Nigeria. Remember, what an adult sees sitting down a child
will never see even if he consults Google, Siri or Cortana.
The Element of Truth In This Story
On the 12th of August 1989, Nigeria lost
Sam Okwaraji. Sam Okwaraji was the player rumoured to have lost his
life in that game when in truth he died during a FIFA World Cup
qualifying game against Angola in the 77th minute.
He collapsed and died of cognitive heart
failure. May his soul rest in Perfect Peace. AMEN. So that is the only
truthful thing about that story, the fact that a Nigerian player died
during a football match. That’s it.
The match was not against India, we did not lose the match and as you must have guessed, and there were no lions either.