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Soccer News of Tuesday, 8 March 2022


Nigeria vs Ghana: Shorunmu recounts near-death experience at 2002 AFCON

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu

With less than two weeks to the mouth-watering World Cup play-off fixture between Nigeria and Ghana, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu shed some light on the rivalry between both countries as well as recounting his ordeal against the Black Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali in 2002.

The longtime foe clashed at the quarter-finals of the AFCON in Mali and apart from Garba Lawal grabbing a late winner for Nigeria, news of Shorunmu's collapse following a clash with a Ghanaian player dominated the news cycle.

A misplaced place from Isaac Okonkwo almost gave the Black Stars a chance to take the lead but the goalkeeper fainted as he strived to rescue the situation, following a collision, and was revived with the aid of oxygen after he was rushed to hospital, The Punch said.

Speaking with The Punch, Shorunmu said the rivalry between the two countries played a key role in the incident as players were ready to die for their respective countries while putting on the jersey.

“The rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana makes every match a difficult one. I remember in 2001 when we went to Ghana and they did all sorts of things to intimidate us, but eventually we overcame the pressure and we played a draw,” Shorunmu said.

“One thing I’m sure of is the fact that the rivalry between the two countries will never stop and it was one of the reasons I collided with an opponent in Mali. We knew about the rivalry and we didn’t want to be the group that will disgrace the country and that was why we had to put everything into the game.”

He added, “I gave a pass to Isaac Okonkwo and he tried to switch the pass to Taribo West, but unfortunately the pass didn’t go well and I had to rush in because we know what it entails playing against Ghana and we didn’t want to lose the game. When I had the collision that was the last thing I remembered. It was after I recovered consciousness that I was told we won.”