India vs Nigeria 99-1: 5 CRAZY facts you didn’t know

India vs Nigeria 99-1: 5 CRAZY facts you didn’t know
Credit: Icon Sport

Every person who grew up in Nigeria between 1970 and 1999 heard the infamous India vs Nigeria 99-1 story.

Our parents and elders described it in such vivid detail that we all praised the mighty Super Eagles team that faced the scary Indian national football team in what could only be described as a death match.

It is that story that has been passed down through generations as an explanation for India’s national team's absence from many major football tournaments.

In the spirit of the yuletide, here are some crazy India vs Nigeria 99-1 facts that you did not know.

There is no India vs Nigeria 99-1 video in existence

In truth, searching for “India vs Nigeria 99-1 video” will return no results that show the match. All you will find are explainer videos about the story which has now become a tale of mythical legend in Nigeria and West Africa at large.

Yes, the story is so popular that Ghanaians and Cameroonians have adopted the story to glorify their national football teams, the Black Stars and the Indomitable Lions.

India vs Nigeria 99-1 never happened as both teams have never faced each other

To date, opinion is divided about the veracity of the claims made in the story.

The only player whose name is constantly referenced in the story is the late great Sam Okwaraji who passed away due to congestive heart failure just after representing Nigeria in a FIFA World Cup qualifiers match in 1990 against Angola.

Some versions of the India vs Nigeria 99-1 story even claim that Okwaraji’s heart began to fail after that game, which later led to his death after the Angola game.

If he were around, the story would be easily verifiable as he is the brave player who is said to have scored Nigeria’s solitary goal in the game.

There are also no living spectators from that game to describe the confusion that would occur in a match where a team scores more than one goal in a minute (a football game lasts for 90 minutes plus additional time after all).

The fact that there is no record in FIFA or CAF’s archives of both teams ever facing off is also a reason to doubt the truth of this tale.

India were indeed banned from football

India vs Nigeria 99-1 could never have happened in Sam Okwaraji’s time.

This is because India were banned from international football by FIFA in 1950.

The Asian nation refused to participate in the 1950 World Cup for one reason: They were not allowed to play barefoot (another debatable fact).

They would boycott the Mundial in that year, leading to FIFA banning them.

That ban has since been lifted, but it took well over 50 years before it was.

Sam Okwaraji and his teammates played in the 1970s and 1980s. India was still not allowed to participate in international football at that time.

As you must have perceived by now, this story is all a hoax. Also, as stated earlier, it was crafted to instil a strong sense of admiration for the men who don the colours of the Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles.

As they prepare to take on the best of the best from Africa, reminiscing on this incredible tale of bravery and a battle against the dark arts for the dignity of Nigeria is a wonderful way to encourage the team which José Peseiro is putting together.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

All-round lover of the beautiful game. Massive football fan, supported Arsenal for decades for reasons that are unexplainable. One day we will win the Champions League!