The year 2022 has been packed with many sporting activities to talk about. The year witnessed two Nations Cup tournaments for the Super Eagles and Super Falcons, coupled with FIFA World Cup tournaments and the Commonwealth Games.
There were other activities such as the 2023 Nations Cup qualifiers, CHAN qualifiers, and World Athletics Championships among others.
We examine the top sports stories which were the major talking points of the year.
1. Super Eagles painful AFCON exit to Tunisia
The year began on quite a disappointing note for Nigerian football lovers, after a blistering start to their Nations Cup campaign, the Super Eagles crashed out at the round of 16.
The Eguavoen-led side recorded a hundred percent record in the group stage by winning all three of their matches against Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.
It was the second time the Super Eagles had won all three of their group-stage matches at the Nations Cup, replicating the feat of 2006.
Sadly, however, the three-time African champions fell at the edge of Tunisia’s sword after a 1-0 defeat to the North Africans sent Nigeria packing out of Cameroon.
2. Super Eagles lose World Cup ticket to Ghana
It was another huge disappointment for Nigeria in March following the Nations Cup debacle.
The Super Eagles were edged by arch-rivals Black Stars of Ghana in the World Cup double-header playoffs via the away goal rule.
The Eguavoen tutored side failed to beat the Black Stars at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on March 29, after the first leg ended goalless in Kumasi.
Troost-Ekong’s first-half spot-kick cancelled Thomas Partey’s early strike but it wasn’t enough as Nigeria failed to make a seventh appearance at the World Cup finals.
3. Super Falcons fail to defend Women’s Nations Cup title
The disappointment continued in July as Super Falcons recorded their worst-ever performance at the Women’s Nations Cup in Morocco.
The nine-time champions finished in fourth place following defeats to host team Morocco in the semi-finals and Zambia in the third-place playoffs.
Falcons ex-captain Asisat Oshoala was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament after she sustained an injury in their group opener.
After a 2-1 defeat to the eventual winners Banyana Banyana of South Africa in their group opener, Randy Waldrum’s side bounced back with victories against Botswana, Burundi and Cameroon before setting up a meeting with hosts Morocco in the semis.
4. Team Nigeria make history at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
Nigeria produced its best performance at its 15th appearance at the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham.
Nigeria finished as the best-performing African nation after coming 7th on the medal table with 35 medals behind Australia (178), England (176), Canada (92), India (61), New Zealand (49), and Scotland (51).
Team Nigeria surpassed the previous record of 11 gold medals won at the 1994 Games in Victoria, Canada, 2010 New Delhi, India, and 2014 Glasgow, Scotland.
The team won 12 gold medals, 9 silver medals and 14 bronze medals.
Among the highlights of Team Nigeria’s performance were Tobi Amusan’s victory in the women’s 100m hurdles event, Ese Brume’s triumph in the women’s long jump event and the famous win in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay.
5. Flamingos win bronze medal in India
Nigeria’s Flamingos made history in India at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The Flamingos won a bronze medal after beating Germany in the third-place playoffs to become the first African team to achieve this feat.
Coach Olowookere Bankole’s girls against all odds beat tournament favourites USA in the quarterfinals to progress beyond the last-8 for the first time in history.
The team received a lot of accolades for their remarkable performance from fans both at home and abroad.