Nigeria’s sporting calendar in 2018 will be a busy one for Nigerian contingents participating in the events slated to hold across the world of sports.
Three of the national football teams will be battling other nations in Africa and Europe while for the first time in Nigeria’s history, the country will be represented at the Winter Olympic Games.
1. CHAN 2018
Another version of the Africa Cup of nations also known as CHAN is designed for players plying their trade in the continent as 16 teams will be competing for honours in Morocco.
The team B of Nigeria Super Eagles will be competing in Group C as they will be filing out against Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Rwanda.
Super Eagles Team B who will be led by Salisu Yusuf qualified for the tournament after a slim 2-1 aggregate win against Republic of Benin.
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After going down by a lone goal away in the first leg in Cotonou, the Nigerian scored two unreplied goals from Rabiu Ali and Kingsley Eduwo at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
Their Beninoise counterpart almost stole it from the penalty spot but Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s save ensured qualification for the Super Eagles.
Team captain and current Super Eagles number one, Ezenwa will be leading 22 other home-based players as they begin their quest for the Championship trophy in January.
2. FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
The competition is presently at the final stage of qualification as the Falconets currently have the first leg advantage after defeating their South African opponents by 2-0 in Polokwane.
At the initial stage, the U-20 team had been in high scoring form with 15 goals as they defeated Tanzania 9-0 on aggregate and Morocco with a 6-2 score line in both legs.
The tournament is slated to be play hosted by France in August as the young Nigerian side will be hoping to do well at the tournament which Nigeria had been twice beaten in the finals.
Current Africa Female Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala announced herself to the world through the U-20 tournament in 2014 in Canada.
The Super Falcons striker was the tournament’s most valuable player and top goal scorer but the squad lost 0-1 to Germany in the finals after extra time.
3. 2018 FIFA World Cup
The world showpiece is the most anticipated event in the sporting calendar year especially with countries participating at the competition which will be staged in Russia at the summer.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are one of the dark horses of the tournament as they have shown to the world that they are no push overs in the qualifying round before progressing to the tournament itself.
A team with an average age of 24 years, the Mikel Obi captained side made it through at the expense of star-studded Algeria, defending African Champions Cameroon and a resurrected Zambian national team.
Gernot Rohr’s men have been tipped to go all the way to the semifinals despite being pitched in a difficult along with; Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
4. Winter Olympics
For the first time in Africa’s history, the Nigerian female Bobsled team qualified for the Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga have defied the odds and wrote their names in the history books when they qualified for the tournament that is required to take place in a frosty region where blacks hardly compete in an ice related sport.
All three contingents were born in the United States were able to raise $150,000 to participate in the qualifiers in Calgary, Canada and developed an online profile which attracted two sponsorship deals from a Sportswear giant and Visa.
Russia 2018: Nigerians predict Super Eagles chances at the World Cup - on NAIJ.com TV