Top 3 matches at the Nest of Champions since it’s inauguration 8-years ago
On 7th November 2014, the 30,000 Nest of Champions in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria was inaugurated .
The stadium is officially known as ‘ Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo ‘.
In the first match at the venue, Nigeria took on arch-rivals Ghana Immediately after the official commissioning.
At the blast of Referee Anietie Ferdinand’s whistle for full-time, it was Nigeria who edged their Ghanaian counterparts to crown the joy at the fully packed stadium.
Hadjuk Split forward Emem Eduok headed home the only goal to write his name in the history book as the first goal-scorer at the Nest of Champions.
8 years today since the inauguration, SportsRation correspondent Nsikakabasi Akpan presents a review of the top three football matches at the prestigious arena to mark the anniversary.
The choice is from the biggest International matches involving the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Nigerian Professional Football League and the CAF Club Competitions.
1. NIGERIA 4-0 CAMEROON
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers
Date: 1, September 2017
Nigeria was grouped alongside Algeria, Zambia and then AFCON Champions Cameroon in Group B of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Genot Rohr tutored Eagles played host to arch-rivals Cameroon in the 3rd match of the African qualifying series.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria were off to a perfect start already defeating Zambia 0-1 in the first game before a 3-1 victory over the Desert Foxes of Algeria at the Nest of Champions.
By virtue of history, current form and the tensed battle for the group’s sole World Cup ticket, the game between Nigeria Vs Cameroon is fit for it’s ranking as the biggest International fixture at the Nest of Champions yet.
A home fortress and a cheering crowd for the big game, the Eagles produced a superlative performance to emerge 4-0 victors over Cameroon.
Odion Ighalo opened the scoring for Nigeria in the 29th minute before John Obi Mikel doubled the lead just before the half-time break.
Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho added two more in the second half to complete a 4-0 rout of Cameroon and consolidate Nigeria’s place on top of the standings in Group B.
The Eagles held on to the lead to claim the ticket to Russia 2018.
2. AKWA UNITED 5-2 MFM
Competition: Nigeria Professional Football League – NPFL
Date: 1st August 2021
Following a history-setting run in the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League, Akwa United FC were in pole position to be crowned League Champions for the first time if they defeat MFM FC on Matchday 17.
The Nest of Champions was filled up with fans led by the states Chief Executive, Governor Udom Emmanuel as they pushed for an historic first league title win.
The Promise Keepers did not disappoint, ruthlessly dispatching MFM 5-2 courtesy of a Charles Atsimene hat-trick, a Ubakama Peter own goal and Mfon Udoh’s 8th goal of the season.
Immediately after the match, Akwa United FC were crowned 2020/2021 NPFL Champions with a game to spare before a cheering home crowd .
The Nest of Champions is home ground to Akwa United Football Club and Dakkada FC.
CAF CONFEDERATION CUP FINAL
Date: 20th May 2022
Teams: RS Berkane Vs Orlando Pirates
Nigeria was awarded hosting rights for the 2021/2022 CAF Confederation Cup Final match .
In confirmation of it’s rating as the best football stadium In Nigeria, CAF approved the Nest of Champions as venue for the encounter between Morroco’s RS Berkane and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
It was the first time Nigeria was hosting the final of a CAF Club Competition (single game) .
Despite the short notice, the organization for the final was top-notch and the attendance massive. Even the game itself provided greasing entertainment to qualify for one of the biggest games at the Arena.
RS Berkane defeated Orlando Pirates on penalties to be crowned Champions of the CAF Confederation Cup.
MOST RECENT ASSESSMENT OF THE NEST OF CHAMPIONS
Super Eagles Head Coach Jose Paseiro inspected the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on June 26, 2022.
The Portuguese coach had this to say after being led round the facility.
” This is a good stadium, feels like Europe and the standard of facility is world class. I came here to watch the match and to check the stadium and I must say that the stadium is big and in a nice condition.”
Final Verdict: The Nest of Champions is in a nice condition 8-years after it’s Inauguration.