The year 2015 may not be a great year for the Super Eagles of Nigeria as the team slips down in the FIFA Coca-Cola and CAF ranking but it has surely been a great year for Nigerian sports as a whole.
2015 has come and gone but there were some great moments which memories will forever leave in the hearts of Nigerians. In no particular order of importance Airwaves Report’s Issa Ahmed takes a glance at some great moments of Jinx broken, Record setting and wonderful victories.
D’ Tigers Finally Roars!!! Nigeria men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, won the AfroBasketball competition for the first time in August, in being crowned the African champions, the team also qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Angola went into the Final looking to win a 12th African title and led early on, before Nigeria's rotation made the difference as they turned the score around in the second quarter and once they took the lead, they held on to it, going up by as many as 19 points. D’Tigers beat the Southern Africa nation 74-65, to win the competition for the first time ever with Nigerian guard, Chamberlain Oguchi awarded the tournament MVP and best 3 Point shooter, Oguchi and Al-Farouq Aminu made the Tourney’s best team also.
Breaking The U-23 AFCON Jinx… It all started after escaping a plane crash in Accra, Ghana with the Under-23 national team, Dream Team VI squad and officials, reports reached Samson Siasia that his mother has been abducted from her house in Odoni village, Saghama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State but was released days after prior to the commencement of the competition.
These were enough distractions for the team but more even happened during the African Championship as the Football Federation did not pay the squad match bonuses, many also lost faiths in the team when they conceded cheap goals in their first two games and were not convincing with their style of play.
But despite the woes the Dream teams VI did not just emerged as the U-23 African Champions they also booked a place to participate in the male football category at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after defeating Senegal in the Semi-final.
The Siasia-led team emerged as the first Nigerian side to win the championship after defeating Algeria two goals to one in Dakar in the final of the competition.
Oluwafemi Rules British Boxing... Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua fought Dillian Whyte for the vacant British Heavyweight title on 12 December 2015, whilst also defending his Commonwealth Heavyweight title for the first time. The two had previously fought within the amateur rankings in 2009 where Whyte had won. Joshua won by knockout with a devastating uppercut in the seventh round, making it the furthest distance either fighter has gone in a professional fight to date
Oluwafemi is a British professional boxer who was born in United Kingdom to a Nigerian mother and father also Nigerian. He grew up for much of his early years in Nigeria and joined Kings Langley Secondary School halfway through Year Seven after returning to the UK.
On 12 September 2015, Joshua won the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight title by stopping Gary Cornish in the first round at the O2 Arena. Cornish had been unbeaten in his previous 21 fight
First African To Win World Scrabble Championship... The World Scrabble Championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English-language Scrabble which has been held every second year since 1991, and annually since 2013.
Australia hosted the latest edition of the World Scrabble Championship recently and the height of it was that an African won it for the first time.
32-year-old Wellington Jighere, from Nigeria won the title at Perth, Australia in 2015 defeating 129 competitors to win the World English-language Scrabble Players’ Association championship after defeating Englishman Lewis MacKay with four straight wins in the best-of-seven final round.
Mackay is ranked 19th by the body’s players’ association, while Jighere is not even listed on the website
Jighere had previously played in two other world championships, placing third in Mumbai in 2007 and 11th in Malaysia in 2009, sponsored by the Nigerian government came back home with a $10,000 cash prize.
Odunayo Keeps Wrestling Alive… Odunayo Adekuoroye is a female Nigerian wrestler who in 2015 became African Champion, World Bronze medalist in Las Vegas, USA; crowing it up by winning a bronze at the World Grand Prix held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Odunayo remains the only Nigeria wrestler to secure a slot for the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning bronze at the 2015 World Wrestling Championship in Las Vegas, USA.
The 22 year old female wrestler was the only African in Team Mumbai Garuda that won the maiden edition of the Pro Wrestling league in New Delhi India.
The two time African champion had earlier defeated Ukraine’s Liliya Horishna, Babita Kumari and Lalita Sehrawat of India and Priyanka Phogat on her way to the final.
Golden Eaglets Gets Gold... Golden Eaglets matched Brazil’s feat as the only two teams to have won the U-17 world championship back to back, the Nigerian lads defended their 2013 World title when they conquered the world again in recently in Chile.
The Nigeria U17 team defeated their West African counterpart in the final after recording a 2-0 victory over Mali; the Golden Eaglets had previously recorded good results against Chile 5-1 in their second group phase match, Australia 6-0 in the second round, and cruised past Brazil 3-0 in the quarter final.
Apart from winning the Championship, the Emmanuel Amuneke-led side also won in most of the individual award categories. Victor Osimhen won the golden boot as highest goal scorer while Kelechi Nwakali was voted best player of the tournament (MVP) as well as winning the bronze boot as third highest goal scorer of the competition. Osimhen also won the silver ball as the second best player of the tournament. Osimhen did not just win the Golden Boot award after scoring ten goals he also sets a tournament record for most goals scored by a player in a single tournament.
Nigeria first won the U-17 World Championship in 1985 when Major General Muhammodu Buhari was the Military Head of State and have now won it again for the 5th time when Muhammodu Buharia is the Civilian President.
To say 2015 has been a tremendous year for Nigerian sports would be an understatement but 2016 can be better, from here at Airwaves Report we say "Good luck! and a better year ahead."