The above question may be answered in multiple dimensions, but since 1949 when the Nigerian Football Association (NFA), now Nigerian football Federation (NFF) came into being the game of football has no doubt improved in the country.
One should not be daunted by the recent happenings in the Nigerian football scene, couple with the facts that the super eagles did not make it to the last African cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea & Gabon as well as our present FIFA ranking position of 60th in the world, and 10th in Africa. one should not say the game of football has not improve in the country, instead we should be grappled with setbacks that has thrilled these beautiful game in Nigeria due to inefficiency and corruption by high ranking officials at the glass house.(the seat of the NFF in Abuja).
Lets not confused ourselves with the words of ‘improving’, ‘improved’ and ‘falling behind’ in terms of our football sector. One thing to note for sure is that Nigerian football has improved. The following points below will buttress the facts;
1. Since 1949, 63 years after Nigeria has been to the world cup on four different occasions (1994, 1998, 2002 & 2010). Some countries of the world have not yet gone to the world cup since its inception in 1950.
2. The country has lifted the prestigious African Cup of Nations twice in 1980 as host and 1994 in Tunisia. Some countries in Africa are yet to win this title.
3. We became the first African country to capture the Olympics men football Gold at Atlanta-U.S.A in 1996 when the Kanu Nwankwo led Dream team shock the world by defeating highly rated Brazil and Argentina to take the title. Let’s not forget that ‘mighty’ Brazil’ who has won all and on in world football are yet to win the Olympics football men’s event.
4. Out of the six previous times the African female Cup of Nations has been staged, the nation’s female team, the Super Falcon has won five of the editions. Let’s not forget our other female teams like the flamingoes as well as the falconets as they continue to dominate Africa in age-grade football as dazzle the world with their skills and speed.
5. Our U-17 men’s team the Golden Eaglets has won the title for keeps, i.e. three times in 1985, 1993 and 2007. No other nation in the wolrd has attained this height.
6. At the African age-grade level, i.e. the flying Eagles, out of the previous seven editions held, the Nigerian Flying Eagles have won it six times, a feat no African team has attained before.
7. Forget about the present FIFA rankings which placed us at No. 60, we were once rank 5th in the world and the second most entertaining team at the USA 1994 world cup. No African team has ever reached this stage again since then.
8. A Nigerian female player, NKIRU OKIILOME of the falconet in 2011 becomes the first player to score the fastest goal in 11seconds in Germany U-20 in 2011. No other player has attained this feat.
9. The Nigerian premier league, NPL was established in 1988 with ICC now shooting stars of Ibadan winning the first edition. Since then we have gone ahead to form a lower division league split into group A & B know as the Nigerian football league. Premiership leagues football are yet to be founded in some countries in the world.
10. Since 1949, the number of available improve stadiums across the country have continue to increase in ranks. Recently FIFA approve the building of three artificial goal project stadium launch in the country to the sited at Bauchi, Enugu and Ibadan.
11. we dazzle the world when we became the first African nation to host FIFA U -19 world cup previous slated for 1997 but ‘shifted’ to 1999. No African Nation has ever hosted this event till date.
12. More than four players of Nigeria decent have won the prestigious African Footballer of the Year Award on several occasions so as with the like of Mercy Akide, Perpetual Nkwocha, etc in the Female category.
13. Various Nigerian experts across the globe heads important football sectors across the world, thereby helping to improve the game of football both at home and internationally.
14. the peoples elephant of Aba, Enyimba FC, the 2001-2005 consecutive Nigerian Premier league champions held African Club Football to Ransom when they won the trophy that has eluded the Nation for over 25years the title in 2003 and won it again in 2004 in far away Cairo, Egypt, thus becoming the first club and country to win the trophy back-to-back!
15. since the inception of the West African Football Union WAFU, Nigerian club sides of won all the previous editions.