Yori-Yori: Nigeria’s Cheery Fun and Free Football Style


Brazilians no doubt love the Ginga; a delightful footballing style rooted in martial arts. What sets the Ginga apart is not just the grace with which Brazilian players waltz past their oppositions but how it connects the players to the crowd – the same way Nigeria’s Super Eagles invoke the ‘Yori-Yori’ footballing style to give their fans something to cheer about.

A sense of accomplishment to any Nigerian football fan watching the Super Eagles play, beyond getting the needed result, is seeing that their much-loved team give them that moment of awe, amazement, and wonder – the Yori Yori wonder!

The ‘Super Eagles’, the Nigerian National football team, is no doubt one of the most popular African football teams in the world. The team has produced incredible yet graceful players over the years that has not only graced African football but also stun the whole of Europe. From lanky looking but sleeky players like Kanu Nwankwo, to speed demons like Victor Oruma, Obafemi Martins and Ahmed Musa, to acrobatic finishers such as Obafemi Martins and Victor Agahowa and the ever silky players such as Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha.

At one point or another, Nigeria’s generation of footballers have incorporated the Yori Yori into their mix and elegantly showcased it to the world, to the chagrin of their opponents.

Yori-Yori: Nigeria’s Free-Fun Football Style Explained

Yori Yori is a ‘hybrid’ of the Brazilian Samba. It is a unique blend of the African style of play, the Samba football style and the free flow Dutch style of play. The Yori Yori, unlike the Samba football, combines three cultures and footballing philosophies; strength, fun, and grace. Call it the ultimate 3-in-1 footballing philosophy!

The footballing style of the Nigerian national team is deeply rooted in their slow-paced style of play; one that syncs with its cheering, trumpeting band supporters. The slow, paced style often has a way of provoking the team’s confidence and pushing them to the edge to entertain their fans. Wherever the Super Eagles play, be sure to see trumpeters and drummers in their supporting standing playing endless Nigerian tunes to cheer and entertain the team, and whenever you see the congregation of musicians, be sure the Yori Yori spirit would be invoked any moment.

Yori Yori: Origin of Nigeria’s Football Style

The Yori Yori is no doubt influenced by three distinct philosophies; the physical African style, the free-flow Dutch style of play and the Brazil Samba style of play. The Samba

Typically, the African style is supposed to be the natural, unique pattern of the team, but the other two are influences of Dutch and Brazilian coaches who managed the team at some point and thought to incorporate or influence the team with their origin country footballing style.

Among them is Otto Gloria, the first Brazilian coach to win the African Nations Cup for Nigeria in 1980. Joe Erico nicknamed ‘Jorgo Bonito Exponent’, a former Super Eagles goalkeeper referenced Otto Gloria as the originator of long passes in Nigerian football. In his words, Joe affirmed: “Otto Gloria was the author of long pass in Nigeria, which he introduced to take advantage of some fast attackers in the national team then.“We all know that Otto Glory is the Brazilian tactician that first won the African Nations Cup for Nigeria in 1980.”

“We also had Father Tico, a great teacher of Brazilian samba and then, the Dutch duo, Clemence Westerhof and Johannes Bobfere that also infused some of the Dutch styles into the national team.” Erico further explained.

Yori Yori thrived during the FIFA 1994 World Cup in USA and ensured the Super Eagles won the ‘most entertaining team’ award of the tournament. Nigeria’s soccer ‘Dream Team’ would go on to win the 1996 Olympics, valiantly matching past the Samba Boys of Brazil who had Ronaldo, Bebeto, and Rivaldo in their ranks to stunning the world against Argentina in the final of the tournament. The Super Eagles from thereon championed their entertaining footballing style with the likes of Okocha and Kanu as its ambassador in Europe.

No doubt, Yori Yori is quite popular within Nigeria as Samba and Ginga are to Brazil, it has been infused into goal celebrations in recent times. From power acrobatic backflips, to trendy Nigerian-African dances such as the ‘Galala’, ‘Azonto’, ‘Kukere’, ‘Zanku’, etc.

Yori Yori remains an integral part of Nigerian football. However, its exhibition has declined recently. Some football lovers have blamed recent coaches for ‘killing’ this aspect of the football culture. It has not died in the way goals are celebrated by Nigerian players on the pitch. Whatever happens, the Yori Yori spirit remains the Naija spirit!

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