The Nigeria national football team, nicknamed Super Eagles or previously Green Eagles, is the national team of Nigeria and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). During April 1994, Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They are the current Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions - a feat that they have achieved a total of 3 times, and have reached the FIFA World Cup round of 16 twice.
After playing other colonies in unofficial games since the 1930s, Nigeria played its first official game in October 1949, while still a British Colony. The team played warm up games in England against various amateur teams like Dulwich Hamlet, Bishop Auckland and South Liverpool. The team's first major success was a gold medal in the 2nd All-Africa games, with 3rd place finishes in the 1976 and 1978 Africa Cup of Nation to follow. In 1980 the team had such players as Levton Orient's John Chiedozie and Tunji Banjo, and the Muda Lawal/Christian Chukwu-led Super Eagles won the Cup for the first time in Lagos. In 1984 and 1988, Nigeria reached the Cup of Nations final, losing both times to Cameroun. Nigeria finally reached the World Cup for the first time in 1994. In 1998 Nigeria returned to the World Cup alongside Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, and South Africa. The 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan saw Nigeria again qualify with optimism also qualified for the 2010 World Cup after defeating Kenya by 3–2 in Nairobi.
Nigeria has won the Africa Cup of Nations three times (1980, 1994 and most recently, 2013). They have been runners-up four times (1984,1988,1990 and 2000). They have finished in third place seven times, including four times recently (2002, 2004,2006, and 2010). On 10 February 2013 they beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso to lift the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time. This was the first time a Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi the captain of the 1994 AFCON champions, would lead the Super Eagles to Cup success.
A powerful team known for its attacking style of football, each generation of the Super Eagles have produced world class players who have gone on to have successful professional careers such as: Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu, Rashidi Yekini, Jay-Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi Geroge, Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Victor Ikpeba, Daniel Amokachi, Mikel Obi and Peter Rufai - just to mention a few.