THROWBACK ! How Kanu Nwankwo was forced to take ‘saved’ 2000 Nations Cup Final penalty kick


Forcing a player to take a penalty!!

That’s history in football, just like this story of how Nwankwo Kanu was forced to take his saved penalty kick in Nigeria’s 2000 AFCON final loss to Cameroon.

One night Nigerian Football fans will always hold painful memories of. The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon howbeit in controversial manner secured a third Nations Cup final win over the Eagles.

Ex-Eagles goalkeeper Ndubuisi Egbo 21-years after the eventful game did reveal in an interview with PUNCH, what transpired at the stadium in Lagos and how then Super Eagles Head Coach Jo Bonfere compelled Kanu against his wish to take one of five spot-kicks.

Egbo said ” We were not prepared for a penalty shootout because we came from two-goals down to play 2-2 and we had exhausted a lot of energy and strength and the psychology was not well balanced for a penalty shootout; and in the end we lost,”

Okocha consoling Kanu Nwankwo

”I have the memory of what happened in the final against Cameroon like a video in my head. I remember Victor Ikpeba scored the penalty but put his hands on his head and the referee (Mourad Daami) counted it that it was a lost goal.

“ But before then, when we were in the camp during training sessions, I always saved Kanu’s penalties and when it was time to play penalties and (coach) Jo Bonfere was writing the names of penalty takers, Kanu said he was not going to play, but the coach said he was one of the best and he had to play. ” Egbo recalled.

During the shootout, Kanu who took Nigeria’s third kick saw his effort saved by Boukar Alioum, the Cameroon goalkeeper, one of the Eagles missed kicks in the controversy ridden shootouts.

In the end it was Cameroon who took the crown with a 3-2 penalty shootout win.

Victor Ikpeba

Let’s not talk about Victor Ikpeba’s reaction to his spot-kick and how technological innovations like the goal line technology would have helped the Referee take a better decision.That is a story for another day on ‘History book‘ .


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