Top 10 most memorable sporting moments of 2017 for Nigerians

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John Mikel Obi, Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi and John Ogu

Sports occupy huge parts of the daily lives of billions of people in
the world, leaving unerasable and unforgettable moments. These are the
10 most memorable sporting moments of the year for Nigerians.

This article
details the events around these moments in no particular order and it
is also important to note that this article only highlights the moments
-either local or worldwide that generated conversations and buzz in
Nigeria.

1.  Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor (Boxing)

Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor was one of the most memorable sporting moments of 2017 (Kevin Quigley/Daily Mail)

 

The return of the arguably the best
middleweight fighter in boxing history and the cross-over of the most
enigmatic characters in the UFC gave us one of the most memorable sports moment of 2017.

Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather returned from retirement for one last bout (at least for now) against two-time world champion in the UFC, Conor McGregor.

The build-up to the fight dominated headlines for several weeks before the bout at the T-Mobile Arena in August.

The fight lived up its expectation as Mayweather and McGregor touched gloves in a 10-round boxing contest.

McGregor began bravely and won the first three rounds but was ultimately outclassed by the vastly more experienced Mayweather.

It
was also financially rewarded for all parties involved; Mayweather
earned around $200million million while 29-year-old McGregor took home a
payout of $100m.

2. 2017 Champions League final (Football)

Real Madrid celebrate winning the 2017 Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo-led Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the 2017 Champions League final (UEFA/AFP/File)

A Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid blew out Juventus 3-1 to win the 2017 Champions League final in one of the most talked about 2017 moments in sports.

Real Madrid were looking to become the first team to retain the European Cup in the Champions League era. Juventus iconic goalie Gianluigi Buffon was also looking to crown his storied career with a Champions League title.

But a charged Ronaldo delivered on the night, scoring a brace to solidify his place as one of the greats of the game.

A Ronaldo opener for Real was cancelled by Mario Mandzukic but further goals by the Real Madrid star man and Casemiro and Marco Asensio ensured a 4-1 win for Real Madrid.

That game also had a massive effect on the biggest individual awards in world football, the FIFA Best Award and the Ballon d’Or which Ronaldo edged his rival Lionel Messi to win.

3. Anthony Joshua Vs Wladimir Klitschko (Boxing)

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko

Anthony Joshua became one of the most popular names in Nigeria after beating Wladimir Klitschko (AFP/File)

 

The old guard of world heavyweight boxing Wladimir Klitschko and an emerging star Anthony Joshua clashed in April 2017 in one of the most talked about boxing moments of 2017.

A
win for Joshua and he becomes the new face of boxing and that is
exactly what happened. The 28-year-British boxer took victory on an
11th-round stoppage after being knocked to the canvas by 41-year-old
Klitschko.

The win not only announced Joshua on the world stage but became a household name in Nigeria the country of his parents.

He became wildly celebrated by Nigerians who immediately discovered his local roots and held on to it.

For that win against Klitschko and his subsequent fight in October against Carlos Takam, indigenes of Sagamu, the hometown of his parents gathered in their thousands to watch him

According to Google, Joshua was the fourth most-searched sportsperson by Nigerians in 2017.

4. Super Eagles 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (Football)

Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo

Super Eagles were the first African side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup (AFP)

 

The Super Eagles had an impressive 2017,
churning out great results in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign
which saw them become the first African country to book their place in
Russia.

The mood was different when the draw was made, putting Nigeria in a tough Group B with Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria.

But the Gernot Rohr-led
men were impressive all through, comfortably beating Algeria and
Cameroon and also getting crucial away win at Zambia to seal
qualification.

5. Nigeria’s in over Argentina (Football)

Kelechi Iheanacho, William Troost-Ekong and John Ogu 

Nigeria beat Argentina in one of the most talked about sporting moments in Nigeria (EPA)

 

Super Eagles huge win over Argentina in a November friendly also prompted reactions from Nigerians.

Although without Lionel Messi, Argentina ran into a two-goal lead before Kelechi Iheanacho, Alexi Iwobi’s brace and a goal by Brian Idowu gave Nigeria a comeback win.

That
win gave Nigerians an optimistic view of their chances at the 2018
World Cup where they will again face Argentina along with Croatia and
Iceland in Group D. 

6. Victor Moses’ Premier League win with Chelsea (Football)

Victor Moses

Victor Moses won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017 (Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images )

 

Nigerians in 2017 watched with delight as one of their own Victor Moses played a crucial role for Chelsea to win the 2017 Premier League title.

Moses
made 22 consecutive Premier League starts from September 2016 to April
2017. 28 league starts and 33 league appearances in total this season.

He is the Nigerian player with the most Premier League appearances for a title-winning team ever.

With Chelsea having a huge fan base in Nigeria, Moses’ feat with Chelsea generated massive reactions from Nigeria.

The
article of Victor Moses’ journey from the fringes at Chelsea to a
celebrated Premier League winner is the most read article on Pulse Sports in the whole of 2017.

7. NBA Finals (Basketball)

Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.


Durant-led Golden State Warriors won beat the LeBron James-led Cleveland
Cavaliers to win the NBA Finals (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

 

American pop culture from -music, movies and
sports- is hugely followed by Nigerian youths who watched with keen
interest as the Golden State Warriors led by Kevin Durant defeat LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 to win the 2017 NBA title.

Talk of the final dominated Nigeria’s social mediasphere as Durant led the Warriors to victory.

8. Sikiru Olatunbosun’s wonder goal (Football)

Sikiru Olatunbosun and CNN

Sikiru Olatunbosun of MFM FC scored one of the most memorable goals in 2017 (CNN)

 

From the gritty grounds of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) MFM FC star Sikiru Olatunbosu that got the Nigerians and even the world talking with his wonder goal which he scored in a February home 2-1 win over Enugu Rangers.

The MFM FC left-footer quickly became an internet sensation as the clip of his goal went viral on the world-wide-web.

After collecting a pass, Olatunbosun looped the ball over Rangers captain and right-back Matthew Etim before firing off a fierce shot with his left foot into the top corner.

France’s L’Equipe called it ‘magnifique’; Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo named it El golazo de la jornada; Brazil’s Globo named it ‘Candidato ao Puskas’ and Italy’s La Gazetta dello Sport called it remarkably, a ‘supergol’.

It was also voted CNN’s Goal of the Week after it got 82% of the vote beating competition from Radja Nainggolan of Roma, Youri Tielemans of Anderlecht and Joey Jones of Woking FC.

9. Usain Bolt bows out (Athletes)

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt (AFP/File)

 

Nigerians along with the rest of the world will never forget the bowing out of one of the greatest athlete in the history of sports, Usain Bolt.

After dominating the tracks for more than a decade, Bolt brought down the curtain on his glittering career at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

It
didn’t according to scripts as the 30-year-old could only get bronze at
the 100 metres event and pulled his hamstring while running in the
anchor leg of the world 4x100m relay which was won by Britain.

These
didn’t take away the bowing out of a sporting icon who is the world
record holder in the 100 and 200m, winner of eight Olympic golds and 14
world medals since making his debut in Helsinki in 2005 when he finished
eighth and last in the 200m final.

10.  Nigerian Bobsled Women Team qualifying for  2018 Winter Olympics

Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga

Nigerian Bobsled Women (Insatgram/bsfnigeria)

 

With Nigeria without the winter season, the country has never gotten any representative at the Winter Olympics and people from around here rarely grow up with dreams of competing at the Games.

The trio of Seun Adigun and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga,
however, took off the sports of bobsleigh also known as bobsled and
began the journey towards making history as the first Nigerians to
compete at the Winter Olympics.

Their dreams became a
reality as the trio qualified for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang
after completing completed races in Utah, Whistler and Calgary during
the qualifiers.

This feat brought them mentions in some
of the biggest media platforms around the world and landed them an
appearance on prime US Talk Show, The Ellen Show.

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