2020 Nigerian sports review

January 1, 2021 |

With sporting events cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there weren’t many highlights for Nigerian sports fans. But, sporting organizations still provided sufficient spark to light up what seemed to be a black year for sports.

Record numbers of Nigerian players drafted in the NFL and NBA

For all of the twists and turns the world health crisis has dealt the world this year, the NBA and NFL Draft offered several great breaths of fresh air for Nigerians. A historic number of Nigerian players were chosen in two of the major sporting leagues in the US.

In the NBA, of nine players with at least one parent from the country were picked in the 2020 Draft, including Udoka Azubuike and Precious Achiuwa, who were born in Nigeria. That marked the first time there were two players from Nigeria picked in the first round of the same NBA Draft.

Before that, the NFL Draft also featured the same historic number of players who have Nigerian origin, with 10 drafted. Detroit selected two players with Nigerian origin after choosing Julian Okwara and two brothers, when Julian joins his brother Romeo at the Lions.

Domestic league football hiatus

Like other sporting activities, football was postponed in Nigeria in March when the government announced a Covid-19 lockdown, including restrictions on sporting activities in the whole country. At the time, Nigeria’s top flight league had played 25 out of 38 match days with the hope to conclude the league in the near future.

However, as the months passed, it became more and more clear that it would be an almost impossible task to resume, continue, and end the league on time in order to meet the CAF deadline for the continental competition.

Restrictions stayed in place for several more months, the league failed to start. As a result, there was no domestic football for a full twelve months of the year 2020.

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