Nigeria 1998 World Cup Squad – The FULL List

Nigeria 1998 World Cup Squad
A lot of the players who featured at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic football game found their way into the Nigeria 1998 World Cup Squad – obviously because they won the gold medal.

Whether it was worth it or not is a different story.
France 1998 was the Super Eagles’ second appearance in the World Cup Finals.

But as far as I’m concerned – as most of you will agree with me – it wasn’t the best. The 1994 maiden appearance still stands out for me, ranking 5th position in the world!

No doubt Philippe Troussier did a great job qualifying Nigeria to the World Cup. But what was the Nigeria Football Association, NFA (as they were then know) and sports ministry thinking?!
Troussier wasn’t a world class coach and so what?!

Is the current coach of the Super Eagles a world class coach? Was the one before him a world class coach? Has Nigeria even ever hired a world class coach?!

Obviously, the football federation never knew times like this will come.
They eventually showed Troussier the exit door and hired a ‘’world class coach’’ in the person of Bora Milutinović few months to the World Cup finals in France.

Clearly, appearing in three World Cups impressed the NFA.
But did they know that Milutinović did not qualify any of those teams to the World Cup finals.

Mexico in 1986 and USA in 1994 – they were hosts and did not have to play qualifying matches. There was also Costa Rica in Italia 1990, they fired the coach that qualified them to the World Cup and hired him.

You would expect a football governing body to know these things, right?
But NO!
Nigeria hired him and he led us to France ’98 World Cup, giving Milutinović a fourth World Cup appearance without the rigors of qualifying games.
Those qualifiers would have put Bora’s competence to test.
Denmark mauled Nigeria 4-1 to send us out of the tournament in the second round.
The Nigeria 1998 World Cup Squad just couldn’t match the resilience and flair of the Super Eagles squad 1994 in the US.
Only the 3-2 victory against Spain can be said to be classical and spectacular as it remains memorable.
Nigeria 1998 World Cup Group/Fixtures
1998 World Cup Group D
  • 13th June: Nigeria vs. Spain (3:2) in Nantes
  • 19th June: Nigeria vs. Bulgaria (1:0) in Paris
  • 24th June: Nigeria vs. Paraguay (1:3) in Toulouse
Nigeria won their group thanks largely to their opening game victory against Spain.
Knockout Stage (2nd Round)
28th June: Nigeria vs. Denmark (1:4) in Saint-Denis.
The 1998 Nigeria world cup squad cannot totally be condemned when you look at their impressive displays in the group games against Spain and Bulgaria. The Super Eagles qualified already after just two matches against the Europeans while losing an unimportant match to Paraguay.
It was when the Bora Milutinović’s side – as group leaders – were drawn with Denmark in the round of 16 that many saw the coaches deficiencies.
The Scandinavians condemned the Nigeria squad 1998 to a humiliating 1-4 defeat breaking the Super Eagles feathers.
Nigeria 1998 World Cup Squad
Jersey No. Position Player DOB Club
22 GK Abiodun Baruwa FC Sion 16/11/1974
12 GK Willy Okpara Orlando Pirates 07/05/1968
1 GK Peter Rufai Deportivo La Coruña 24/08/1963
3 DF Celestine Babayaro Chelsea FC 29/08/1978
17 DF Augustine Eguavoen Torpedo Moskva 19/08/1965
19 DF Ben Iroha Elche CF 29/11/1969
16 DF Uche Okafor Kansas City Wizards 08/08/1967
5 DF Uche Okechukwu Fenerbahçe 27/09/1967
21 DF Godwin Okpara RC Strasbourg 20/09/1972
2 DF Mobi Oparaku KFC Turnhout 01/12/1976
6 DF Taribo West Inter 26/03/1974
8 MF Mutiu Adepoju Real Sociedad 22/12/1970
11 MF Garba Lawal Roda JC Kerkrade 22/05/1974
10 MF Jay Jay Okocha Fenerbahçe 14/08/1973
15 MF Sunday Oliseh AFC Ajax 14/09/1974
18 MF Wilson Oruma RC Lens 30/12/1976
14 FW Daniel Amokachi Beşiktaş 30/12/1972
13 FW Tijjani Babangida AFC Ajax 25/09/1973
7 FW Finidi George Real Betis 15/04/1971
20 FW Victor Ikpeba AS Monaco 12/06/1973
4 FW Nwankwo Kanu Inter 01/08/1976
9 FW Rashidi Yekini FC Zürich 23/10/1963
Manager Bora Milutinović 07/09/1944
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