The Afro Asian Cup was a tournament organized between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The tournament was usually held between winners of the African Cup of nations and the Asia Cup or the Asian Games. In 1995, Nigeria emerged as the contestant of the competition courtesy of been champions of Africa. Uzbekistan was their opponent as Asian champions.
The champions of the Afro Asian games were decided on a two-legged encounter held between both participating countries. The first leg of the Cup competition was held at the Pakhatakor Markaziy stadium in Tashkent on the 10th of November 1995 while the 2nd leg was held at the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos, Nigeria on the 21st of October 1995.
Nigeria triumph 3-2 in the 1st leg courtesy of goals from Samson Siasia, Victor Ikpeba, and Nwankwo Kanu who was a substitute in the match. The team led by coach Jo Bonfere was filled with talent and paraded a good starting eleven for the match. In goal was the experienced Alloysius Agu, defenders were Taribo West, Augustine Eguaveon, and Uche Okafor(now late). The midfield was anchored by Sunday Oliseh, Wilson Oruma, and Mutiu Adepoju. Spearheading Nigeria’s attack were Wasiu Ipaye, Victor Ikpeba, Samson Siasia, and Daniel Amokachi.
Samson Siasia opened the scoring for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 10th minute of play. Victor Ikpeba added a second in the 65 minutes before Uzbekistan pulled one back through Kasimov in the 70th minute. Nigeria’s two-goal cushion was however restored when substitute Nwankwo Kanu scored Nigeria third goal in 71 minutes. Fyodorov however ensured the scoreline was not too embarrassing when he scored Uzbekistan’s second in the 85th minute. The match eventually ended 2-3 in favor of Nigeria.
The 2nd leg of the Afro Asian Cup took place on the 21st of October 1995 before 60,000 vociferous fans who had come to watch their darling team. Most of the players from the 1st leg were included in the team. Goalkeeper Alloysius Agu kept his place in goal. Augustine Eguaveon, Celestine Babayaro, Uche Okafor (now late), and Uche Okechukwu were in charge of the defense.
Mutiu Adepoju, Wilson Oruma, and Sunday Oliseh controlled the midfield. George Finidi, Nwankwo Kanu, and Daniel Amokachi were in charge of the Super Eagles attack. In a keenly contested game, it was substitute Emmanuel Amunike who fired home the only goal of the encounter in the 82nd minute of play, to give Nigeria a 4-2 aggregate winner. There was jubilation in the stadium as referee Sidi Bekaye Magassa from Mali blew the final whistle to bring an end to proceedings.
The result meant Nigeria’s Super Eagles were undisputed Champions of the 1995 Afro Asian Cup and became the second African country after Cameroon who won the 1985 edition. The competition which started in 1978, was later scrapped in 2007 due to the AFC representative supporting Germany rather than South Africa in the vote for hosting right to FIFA 2006 World Cup.
There is however some ray of hope about the possible return of the competition, as CAF president Ahmad Ahmad mentioned in February of 2018. He talked about the possibility of a return amid talks between both CAF and AFC. Unfortunately, nothing tangible has been heard ever since. Only time will tell if the much-publicized return will eventually become a reality.
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