Nigeria has a long history of being strong in the sporting world. However, there are some areas where it is significantly stronger than others. When compared to other African nations, Nigeria is generally somewhere in the middle, but there are some places where it competes at a higher level than other African nations. We’ve taken a look at where Nigeria stands in relation to the rest of the continent.
It would be nothing short of scandalous to start anywhere other than football. When compared to the rest of the continent, Nigeria is far and away the most successful country on the whole. Their performances at the ’94 World Cup and ’96 Olympics are something that will live long in the memory for many Nigerians. In fact, it will live long in the memory of many gamblers too, as it provided some of the biggest upsets in history. This is something that can’t be ruled out in the future either, as Nigeria is still a hotbed of talent in production. There may be some quality online sportsbooks such as bet365, where they have to rethink things if Nigeria continues to be a production line. Betfromafrica.com is one of many sites that rethinks how to make reviews of betting sites such as bet365 dedicating one site to just one operator.
It’s something that continues to this day. While names from the past such as Kanu, Okacha and Amokachi will not soon be forgotten, there is still a range of top-level footballers being created by Nigeria. While Mikel, Martins and Moses might seem like the last generation that the country has produced, there are still top-level players coming through. Iheanacho and Iwobi are just two examples of top-level Nigerian talent that are playing right now. Added to these two, Ndidi and Aribo are both showing quality and play in the top flight. It might not be quite at the same level as in the mid-1990s, but football is still the lifeblood of Nigeria when it comes to sports.
Other African countries may have produced top-level players that are on a par with the best Nigeria has to offer, but none have produced the same number as a whole and over such a long period of time. With Nigeria still loving football like it always has, this isn’t something that is likely to change in the near future.
This is an area where Nigeria has a mixed history. It’s also quite a way behind another competitor in Kenya. Despite it not being near the top of the charts in athletics, two of the three gold medals that Nigeria has won at the Olympics came in athletics. During the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Nigeria came second in the 4×400 metre men’s relay. However, that silver medal was upgraded to a gold one due to a disqualification.
It was discovered that Antonio Pettigrew had used performance enhancing drugs in the build-up to this race. Once this was widely known, the American team was stripped of their gold medal and it was awarded to the Nigerians. The second gold that Nigeria won in athletics came at the same Olympics that the men’s football team won gold. This was won by Chioma Ajunwa in the women’s long jump. An interesting side note regarding Anjuwa is that she is the only woman in history to have competed in a track and field event at the Olympics and to have played in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is obviously a hugely impressive accomplishment and just demonstrates the wealth of sporting prowess on display within the country.
Despite these successes, Nigeria pales in comparison to Kenya in terms of athletics. A total of 14 of the 27 Olympic medals that Nigeria has won are in the field of athletics. Just two of those 14 were golds. While Nigeria is a moderately successful country in the field of athletics, it doesn’t quite manage to compete at the highest level.
When compared to Kenya, Nigeria has not experienced the same level of success. Kenya has won 113 medals at the Olympic games in history. Of those 113, 106 of them were in the field of athletics. On top of that, 34 of those were gold medals. Even just the number of gold medals in athletics that Kenya has won dwarfs the total number of medals across all disciplines that Nigeria has won. In fact, there are five Kenyan athletes who have won two gold medals in athletics, which is the same number that Nigeria has won across all Olympic games.
Nigeria may get the better of Kenya when it comes to football, but in terms of athletics, Kenya is way out in front.