2 Controversial Moments VAR Could Have Helped Nigeria Win The AFCON

Okocha consoles Kanu after AFCON 2000 final loss
Okocha, Babangida consoles Kanu after AFCON 2000 final loss

Just like England at the 2010 world cup in South Africa, where Frank Lampard’s shot crossed the line but was chalked off, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have witnessed moments they wished VAR was available to help them win the African Nations cup.

Let’s take you back into memory lane of the two biggest injustice against Nigeria in AFCON history.

After failing to qualify for the 1986 AFCON in Egypt, Nigeria made a return to The AFCON in 1988 with Morocco as host.

The team coached by German, Manfred Hoener was drawn in Group B alongside Cameroon, Kenya and Egypt.

In the second group game, Cameroon forced Nigeria to a 1-1 draw.

The late Samuel Okwaraji opened the scoring for Nigeria with a superb left-foot volley from the edge of the box minutes before Roger Milla equalized for Cameroon in the 21st minute.

Nigeria and Cameroon advanced into the semifinals, where Nigeria met Algeria and Cameroon faced hosts, Morocco.

After defeating Algeria in a thrilling semi-final clash, Nigeria once again met Cameroon in the final hoping to avenge their 1984 AFCON final loss.

It was Cameroon who triumphed after Roger Milla was fouled in the Nigerian box, a resultant kick Emmanuel Kunde converted in the 55th minute.

Earlier in the first half of the game, Henry Nwosu thought he had given Nigeria the lead after heading past Joseph-Antoine Bell but referee Idrissa Sarr of Mauritania inexplicably disallowed it as Nwosu was controversially flagged for offside.

If that goal was not disallowed, Nigeria would have stood a chance of claiming a second AFCON title; a decision Henry Nwosu later Described as a stolen victory.

The Nightmare From The Prince Of Monaco

Nigeria returned to the AFCON fold after serving a suspension from the 1998 edition because the country boycotted the 1996 edition in South Africa due to political tensions between the country and the host.

The return coincided with the first co-hosting of the Africa Cup Of Nations, AFCON between Nigeria and Ghana in the year 2000.

Nigeria almost got eliminated in the quarterfinal but survived the scare against Senegal, the hugely talented Nigerian team made it to the final to be played in front of home fans at the national stadium in surulere, Lagos.

Standing in the way of Nigeria’s quest for a third AFCON title was Cameroon, who was eyeing a third title as well.

Two goals from Samuel Eto’o and Patrick Mboma in the 26th and 31st minute respectively for the indomitable lions of Cameroon stunned a packed National Stadium in Lagos.

Raphael Chukwu made it 2-1 On the stroke of half-time before Austin Okocha made it 2-2 in the 47th minutes of the game.

The game went into extra time and penalties. Kanu Nwankwo missed a kick for Nigeria but the big heartbreak was when Victor Ikpeba stepped up to take his kick.

The prince of Monaco unleashed a fierce shot that bounced off the bar and the line, and he immediately put his hands on the head in dismay.

 Victor Ikpeba's Penalty VS Cameroon
Victor Ikpeba’s controversial penalty miss VS Cameroon

The referee and his assistant immediately ruled it as a missed kick but television replays show that the ball crossed the line. Yet again a VAR could have changed the outcome of the game.

Cameroon once again had the last laugh as they went on to win 4-3 on penalties, the third time they would beat Nigeria in an AFCON final.

Sunday_Oliseh crying after losing the AFCON finals to Cameroon in the year 2000
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