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Soccer News of Tuesday, 20 September 2022


Why Nigeria changed its nickname from Red Devils to Super Eagles

Super Eagles Super Eagles

Nigeria is undoubtedly a force to reckon with in African football and on the international stage.

Africa's most populous country has produced some of the finest football talents the world has ever seen, one can mention the likes Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Rashidi Yekini among others.

The three-time African champions have also featured in six World Cups.

But have you ever wondered how Nigeria came by the name Super Eagles?

Red Devils

Until 1960, the Nigeria senior men's team was called Red Devils, a name which was informed by their red jersey colour at the time. This was a time when the country was still a British colony.

Green Eagles

After independence on October 1, 1960, Nigeria's senior national team nickname changed from Red Devils to 'Green Eagles'.

The new name was informed by the flag colour together with the Eagle, which symbolises the country's coat of arms.

The new name 'Green Eagles' rebirthed a new sense of nationalism in the country's sporting dispensation.

As Green Eagles, Nigeria went ahead to compete in its first Olympic Games in 1968 in Mexico and progressed to win the All African Games in 1973.

Three years on, the Green Eagles conquered Africa by winning the 1980 Nations Cup on home soil.

Super Eagles

In 1988, the name 'Green Eagles' changed to Super Eagles after Nigeria finished as runners-up in the 1988 AFCON played in Morocco.

Nigeria succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon in the finals of the Nations Cup played at Stade Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca.

Despite the disappointment of losing the continent's most prestigious title to their next-door neighbours, the Nigerian team which included the likes of Stephen Keshi, Augustine Eguaveon, Henry Nwosu, Peter Rufai, Samuel Okwaraji among others arrived in Lagos to a hero's welcome.

It was at the reception organised to celebrate the team for their remarkable achievement that the name of the national team was changed from 'Green Eagles' to 'Super Eagles'.

As Super Eagles, Nigeria went ahead to make six World Cup appearances and has since won two more Nations Cup titles.