The Godwin Odiye own goal against Tunisia in 1977 at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos, that meant that possibly Nigeria’s greatest ever team would not feature at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, would live forever in infamy.
Nigeria were playing at home against Tunisia. The team had the best goalie in Africa – Emmanuel Okala, the best central defensive combo in Africa – Christian Chukwu and Godwin Odiye, the best right-winger in Africa – Segun Odegbami, the best left-winger in Africa – Adokiye Amiesimaka, the best central midfielder in Africa – Muda Lawal.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the team used to have the best striker in Africa – Thompson Usiyen, but he left for further education in the US. His replacement John Nwadioha, from P&T Vasco da Gama of Enugu, was not quite up to the task.
On that sunny day in Lagos, the ever reliable, ever dependable “last man” Odiye headed the ball into his own net to knock Nigeria out of the World Cup.
Those were the days only one country qualified from Africa.
Grown men cried like babies on that day. The next time we would see this see this sort of thing was when Italy beat Nigeria in the last 16 of the World Cup in 1994.
Anyway, whether Odiye scored own goal or not, na Godwin.