Following the announcement of Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad numbers and as our darling Super Eagles gets ready to show the world the stuff we’re made of, here are 10 interesting facts about the Super Eagles jersey numbers.
Jersey number 1 – The only players to have started all three group stage games for Nigeria: Peter Rufai (1994, 98), Ike Shorunmu (2002) and Vincent Enyeama (2010, 14) wore the number 1 jersey.
Jersey number 2 – This number has always been allocated to defenders in the Nigerian World Cup squads: Augustine Eguavoen (1994), Mobi Oparaku (1998), Joseph Yobo (2002, 2010, 2014), Brian Idowu (2018).
Jersey number 4 – The Super Eagles started with a player wearing jersey number 4 in their opening game only once: Nwankwo Kanu, Nigeria vs. Argentina (2002).
Jersey number 5 – In three out of five World Cups, jersey number 5 has been worn by Turkey-based players. Uche Okechukwu (Fenerbahce, 1994 and 1998), William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor, 2018)
Jersey number 7 – Ahmed Musa, scorer of Nigeria’s only World Cup brace to date, achieved this feat wearing the number 7 jersey (Nigeria vs. Argentina, 2014).
Jersey number 9 – Since Rashidi Yekini scored Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup goal, against Bulgaria in 1994, occupants of the number 9 jersey have failed to find the target for the Super Eagles in 17 consecutive games at the tournament, a drought totalling 1016 minutes of football.
Jersey number 10 – No player wearing the Super Eagles’ iconic number 10 jersey has scored a goal at the World Cup: Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha (1994, 1998, 2002), Brown Ideye (2010), John Mikel Obi (2014). If John Mikel Obi (10) or Odion Ighalo (9) score for Nigeria at the Russia 2018 they will be breaking poor FIFA World Cup scoring records for players wearing their respective squad numbers for the Super Eagles.
Jersey number 12 – Nigeria have scored a cumulative five goals in their second group-stage games, with players wearing number 12 netting twice. Samson Siasia (Nigeria vs. Argentina, 1994) and Kalu Uche (Nigeria vs. Greece, 2010)
Jersey number 15 – Midfielders have always worn the Super Eagles’ number 15 at the World Cup: Sunday Oliseh, Justice Christopher, Lukman Haruna, Ramon Azeez, and Joel Obi.
Jersey number 23 – On two different occasions, the youngest squad members at Nigeria’s World Cup party have worn number 23: Femi Opabunmi (2002) and Francis Uzoho (2018).