It Started in a Beer Parlour – Everything You Need to Know About the Legendary 99-1, India-Nigeria Fairytale Encounter

Published in Awa Football August 20 2017 font size decrease font size increase font size
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By Olatosimi Fadahunsi

Famous football writer, Solace Chukwu on the day of the draws for the FIFA 2017 U-17 World Cup which India will be hosting from October 6-28 2017, wrote on Twitter: “This year’s U-17 World Cup would have been probably Nigeria’s best chance of avenging that 99-1 loss to India. Alas, we didn’t qualify….”


I need to write about something unusual, maybe the India –Nigeria game that never happened. “Are you kidding there was never a match like that?" Miftaudeen Raji, Editor-in-Chief Unilag Sun asked when I told him I will be writing on this unbelievable tale.


if this man doesn't know  that there was never a game like the India 99 Nigeria, imagine thousands of people that have been living in the darkness of this tale.


The legendary folktale like some will put it is what virtually everybody in Nigeria grew up in to. How did Nigerians come about this legendary folktale still remains a mystery.  The awesome parts of this tale or myth as it were are that nobody could tell when the story began, where the story started from, what led to the story, or the originator of the story. 


On where the story started from, broadcast journalist and writer, Deji Faremi wrote on Twitter in responsbe to Solace Chukwu's tweet about the game: “I strongly believe this thing started as beer parlour talk. Some men had too much to drink and cooked up a legendary folktale.”


There are different versions of this unbelievable tale that lurks on the subconscious of almost everyone’s mind in Nigeria, like whenever the ball is with a Nigerian player, it turned into stone or the one that says the ball turned to lion and the players from the Nigerian side couldn’t kick the ball, or the one on fire amongst many others


But what side of the divide you want to believe as regards this tale in which there was only one player that played the game, nobody till date knows the venue where the match was played, we haven’t been able to know the person that coached the Nigerian side nor the officials who officiated the game, there are some general consensus still: it was the aftermath of this game that led to Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) to suspend India from football, Samuel Okwaraji scored the only goal for Nigeria, after which he died, and that the game ended India 99 – Nigeria 1.


There is no body of knowledge that stands alone: I won't be the first to write on this, likewise will i be the last. Sit back, sit tight, and enjoy yourself as this body of knowledge takes you on the expedition of knowing every bit of what you should know about that famous match that was never played.


1. The Highest Scoring Margin In an International Game is 31-0: The highest score line that has been recorded in the history of international football match was in April 2001, when the Australian National team defeated the Samoa National team 31-0 in a qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup that was co-hosted by Korea and Japan. This knocked out the point that there was ever a game that ended in a 99-1 score margin


2. Nigeria’s Biggest Loss was Against Togoland: The biggest defeat the Nigeria National Team ever suffered was a 7-0 defeat in the hands of Togoland (now form some parts of Ghana and Togo) on June 1,1955, In Accra, Gold Coast. 


3. India was Never Banned by FIFA at Any Point in Time: They were reports that FIFA banned the India National team from football in 1950, after the Association of India Football Federation (AIFF) insistence of allowing her players to play bare footed. India qualified for the 1950 World Cup finals by default as a result of the withdrawal all of their scheduled opponents. But failed to honour the competition. The country highest ever achievement since then was a quarter final qualification at the 1982 Asian Games in which India hosted. This has also quashed the notion or believe that India was banned as a result of the legendary 99-1 folktale.


4. Samuel Okwaraji Died in a Game against Angola: Okwaraji, the only player known to have played the legendary 99-1 folktale match was reported to have died in this game as a result of him scoring the only goal for Nigeria against India. Setting the record straight, Okwaraji died in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on August 12, 1989.


5. Nigeria and India Have Never Faced Each Other in Any Football Game: Nigeria and India have taken different route in sports. The former remains one of the most successful country in african football with 3 African Nations Cup title, 1 male Olympic Gold honour in football, 10 CAF Women’s Championship, 5 U-17 World Cup, amongst many others. The latter are well known for their success in cricket. This is one of the reasons the two sides have not faced each other at any International level


Until we get to see a Nigeria versus India game, whoever might have cooked this story, deserves an award. If Nigeria as a country fail to do that, will take it up as part of discharging her social responsibility function. If you know the whereabouts of the person(s) you can drop it on our comment box down here or reach us on twitter @spot_kick.


Sure you’ll have your version of the story, kindly share with us.

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