NIGERIA, on Saturday, failed to make it to the semi-finals of the maiden edition of the Star Sixes as the country were beaten by Spain 8-1 in the first quarter final match of the tournament, ongoing in London.
Luis Garcia, Michel Salgado, Alfonso, Carlos Marchena, Gaizka Mendieta and Joan Capdevila all registered their names on the scorers’ sheet to secure a semi-final berth for the European side. Yakubu Aiyegbeni accounted for Nigeria’s only goal in the match.
Nigeria had barely qualified for the quarter-finals earlier in the day after they lost their last group match 0-3 to Brazil. The three goals were scored by Julio Baptista, Elano and Juninho.
In actual fact Nigeria only scrapped only three points from their group following their 3-2 win over China in the first match played on Thursday. Those goals were scored by Aiyegbeni, who netted two and Daniel Amokachi.
Aiyegbeni also scored Nigeria’s solitary goal in their 1-2 loss to Italy in the second match played on Friday.
The Star Sixes tournament is for iconic ex-international players with the aim of uniting world football’s greats once again in their national team colours.
The Nigeria team to the maiden six-a-side tournament which ends today at The O2 Arena, London featured players like Austin Okocha, Peter Rufai, Uche Okechukwu, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, Taribo West, Julius Aghahowa, and Garba Lawal.
However, a non-Nigerian —Maik Taylor — came on for Nigeria when Rufai got injured against Spain on Saturday. Taylor is a former Northern Ireland international goal keeper.
Some other world renowned players at the tournament include Michel Ballack, Marcel Desailly, Robert Pires, Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Carles Puyol.
Twelve countries took part in the maiden Star Sixes tournament and they are England, Spain, Mexico, Scotland, Portugal and Denmark. Others are Germany, France, Nigeria, China, Brazil and Italy.
The semi-final, third place matches and the grand finale will all be decided today.