It doesn’t matter when you were born, where in Nigeria you were born, you’ve probably heard about the famous India Vs Nigeria 99-1 match. Where the Indians beat Nigeria 99-1 or was it 100- 0? This match is so popular, everyone remembers it, even if no one ever watched it
Whether you live in Bauchi, Onitsha or Lagos, the story is till the same. It could have been your Mum, sister, uncle aunt or Neighbour who gave you the low-down about the match ( I remember mine, it was Abiodun in Pry 3B )
Although the story has different tales depending on your source, they all have the same ending- India beat the super eagles 99 -1. (But Nigeria won the match)
According to the story, anytime the Indians kicked the ball , the super eagles (and the spectators on the field ) see a huge rock. Peter Rufai, the goalkeeper, who would have saved the day that day “narrated” that each time the ball approached him, he saw a lion approaching like a ball of fire instead.
How did the India Vs Nigeria 99-1 Match happen?
After the Civil war, the military governor of Lagos Brig.Gen. Mobolaji Johnson decided to have a friendly match at the National stadium to help Lagos residents forget about the Civil war. Indian was chosen (the Nigerian football body felt the match would be a walkover).But, on special terms and conditions
- The match must be played barefoot
- Each goal scored by India will be counted at 3 goals i.e 1 goal = 1X3 ,2 goals = 2X3 , 3goals = 3×3
- Nigeria wins the match if the super eagles eventually scores a goal
And so the game began..
The game had barely started when the goals started pouring into Nigeria’s net… 3-0, 6-0, 9-0, 12-0 . The super eagles had no control over the match (the Juju of the Indians was so strong that the ball either turn to stone or a ball of fire anytime Nigeria attempted to kick the ball). And while Peter Rufai tried to save Nigeria from this impending disgrace, there was little he could do as the ball turned into a Lion at his own end.
The flood gates of goals were still opened till it got to 93-0 at this point all hope was lost. Still, the Indians kept on pressuring the attack till 99-0.
Then something happened (There are two versios of the concluding part of this match). Just right there in the crowd, Thunder Balogun’s wife , seated in the crowd , screamed “thunder balogun remember your left leg” So he kicked the ball (which had been turned to stone) with his left, the ball tore the net and Nigeria won the match by that lone goal. 99-1 was the final score
In another version , it was Samuel Okwaraji , who paid the ultimate price by kicking the ball into the Indian team’s net. This led to Samuel Okwaraji dying on the field and everyone singing “oh Okwaraji oh okwaraji”
The real truth behind India vs Nigeria 99-1 Match
Did the India Vs Nigeria 99-1 match really happen ? Short answer: no. It’s all a fiction. You can search for highlights on Youtube and even google and I can guarantee you won’t find anything.
If the Match didn’t happen , why were India banned from playing football?
On a funny note, Some say India were banned because FIFA won’t allow them sing and dance for 15 minutes after every goal.But, the most popular answer to why India was banned from playing football is because they wanted to play barefooted , which wasn’t allowed by FIFA. (This answer has been debunked by Wikipedia)
The truth is India weren’t banned from playing football. Football isn’t the number one sport in India. Very little attention is given to football unlike Cricket which is their national sport.
If the Match didn’t happen, how did Samuel Okwaraji die?
Okwaraji collapsed at the 77th minute of a 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. Autopsy revealed that the 25-year-old Samuel Okwaraji had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.