By Shina Oludare
Scoring while representing one’s country begets great feelings not to talk of repeating such feat three times in a match. On Monday night in Belo Horizonte, Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a hat trick for the Super Eagles in their opening 2013 Confederations Cup match against Tahiti in a 6-1 victory.
The 22-year-old AC Milan midfielder scored his treble in the 10th, 26th and 76th minutes to help the African champions to their most emphatic victory ever in a senior Fifa football event. With that feat, Oduamadi joined an enviable class of Nigerian goal scorers who have poached three goals in the colours of the national team.
Goal.com brings to you the Nigerian players before Oduamadi who were three times lucky while on national duty. This list excludes four-goals-in-a-game heroics by Elkana Onyeali in 1959 and Rasheed Yekini in 1991.
Buraimoh Abudu became the first national team player to bag a hattrick while on international duty. His three goals were among the many that blew away Dahomey, now Benin Republic 10-1 on November 8, 1959 in an Nkrumah Cup game played in Lagos.
Other goals were accounted for by Daniel Okwudili, Dejo Fayemi, Albert Onyeawuna and Elkana Onyeali who was the star of the day netting in four goals.
Six years after Buraimoh’s feat, Paul Hamilton popularly known as ‘Wonder Boy’ took turn to write his name in Nigeria’s football folklore as the second player to get a hat trick for the nation.
Still fresh from a 5-0 massacre in the hands of the Ghanaian Black Stars in the semi final of the Nkrumah Cup four days earlier, Hamilton led the rejuvenated Green Eagles to feast on Senegal 4-0 in the third place encounter of the tournament played on February 27, 1963.
Ekpe Asuquo had shot the Jorge Pena-coached team ahead in the opening minutes of the game before pint-sized Wonder Boy made a mince meat of the Senegalese defence at the Accra Sports Stadium.
After making a scoring debut for the Green Eagles, Mordi stepped up his game in his second outing for Nigeria in an international friendly against Gabon, in Libreville.
The match played on August 29, 1965 saw the Panthers lose scandalously 4-1 before their home fans even as Paul Hamilton completed the rout.
In a capacity-filled National Stadium in Lagos, Benin Republic got an embarrassing Valentine’s Day gift as they were mauled 7-0 in an international friendly played on February 14, 1977.
Thomspon Usiyen, who had now become a regular in the senior national team, put the ball past the Beninois goalkeeper three times. In the same game, Godwin Iwelimo justified coach Jelisavic Tihomir ‘s trust in him by getting a goal on his debut for the Green Eagles.
Alloysius Atuegbu and Samuel Ojebode were responsible for the other goals.
One of the greatest wingers to have come out of the country, Odegbami too added his name on this list of celebrated footballers when he got his 10th, 11th and 12th international goals against Benin Republic in the qualifying series of the 3rdAll Africa Games.
Played on January 14, 1978 in Lagos, ‘Mathematical’ proved too hot to be handled by the neighbours. In the same game, Adokiye Amesiamaka got a brace for his impressive displays while skipper Christian Chukwu and Godwin Odiye also got their names on the scorers' sheet.
Barnabas Imenger, Nduka Ugbade scored one each as goalkeeper Peter Rufai got his only international goal from the penalty spot.
Victor Ikpeba’s three goals helped the Super Eagles to deal with a stubborn Namibian team 4-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The goals were his first after he last found the back of the net for the country against Tunisia in the Ghana/Nigeria Nations Cup.
Pascal Ojigwe added the fourth goal in the closing stages of the encounter. The match was played on September 2, 2000.
After 13 years of waiting for another hat trick hero, Ikechukwu Uche came calling with three great goals against a Portuguese second division side, Farense in a test match played in Faro on January 15, 2013.
The match was played under closed doors to ensure the Stephen Keshi-tutoured side got maximum concentration for their Nations Cup outing in South Africa. Emmanuel Emenike and John Mikel Obi’s penalty kick completed a 5-0 roasting of the Portuguese club side.