✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

From the rubbles of Angola, a new dawn!

After that the elements would not monopolise their support for Nigeria. On the night of the semi-final match, when the team had started to put…

After that the elements would not monopolise their support for Nigeria. On the night of the semi-final match, when the team had started to put some kind of act together, the gods deserted the Nigerian team. An ordinary-looking, but hard working and young Ghanaian side put paid to Nigeria’s hopes of a place in the finals. The Ghanaians played their worst match of the championship and still easily won a match they absolutely did not deserve to win!  When the ‘Gold’ opportunity was lost, when there was little else to play for than a little bit of pride, when the pressure on the team had dissipated and Nigerians showed little interest in the consolation bronze medal that had already filled their trophy chest at home, in their very last match of the championship, the Super Eagles woke up from their slumber to play their best match, although against a badly depleted Algerian team.  In my own personal and humble estimation, put together, the actual performance (not the results) of the Eagles in Angola 2010 is the poorest I have witnessed since 1976 when the country first made an impression at the championship. Since that time in Dire Dawa the country has made achieving third place at the championship an almost routine exercise! For any one, therefore, in the year 2010, with all the team’s past achievements, with all its array of experienced players, with its record of playing a dominant role in African football, to lead the Super Eagles to an African championship and make anything but the finals of the championship an ambition or target is preposterous, anomalous, belittling and taking the people for a ride! Even if the team would eventually lose and exit in the first round of the championship the goal must be to win the championship not get to the semi-final. Anything short of that cannot be celebrated or accepted as an achievement! For emphasis this present Super Eagles team to Angola has been the most motivated, pampered, and best funded (the bonuses offered this team is the highest in Nigeria’s history) and the least interfered-with, or distracted, team in the country’s history of the championship. Contrary to what the media were reporting and the several stories planted by some people with ulterior motives and agenda outside the team playing and winning, the Presidential Task Force, set up to support, facilitate and accelerate the Football Federation’s programmes and processes, and had the Football Federation’s President as an active member and the Federation’s Secretary-General as an unofficial but regular attendee at meetings, did just that. The body never had any direct interaction with the players (except the one time the committee visited them in camp and only the Chairman spoke words of encouragement to lift their deflated spirit after the loss in the very first match to Egypt) and never interfered with, influenced or dictated to the NFF board. The NFF were absolutely and completely in control of their affairs and were responsible and accountable for ALL their decisions and actions!     

Once again, the greatest gift Nigeria can take away from Angola 2010 is that of opportunity – opportunity to fix Nigerian football once and for all! This is because the country’s football needs fixing. Otherwise, how would a team play matches, win or draw them all, qualify the country for the World Cup and the people are still unhappy, would not celebrate it lavishly, and would rather allow it generate a lot of controversy and debate about the capability of the technical crew and the selection of players?  Otherwise, how would the same team go to the African Cup of Nations, win some matches, get to the semi-finals of the championship and the whole country is neither elated nor satisfied? The discontentment after every match played by the Eagles is pervading! The controversy and debates about the quality of coaching and the team’s management are heightened and still rage on! The generality of the people are angry and frustrated and the call for change fills the air. In the past few days, Jay Jay Okocha, leading some international players, has risen up and is clamouring for a critical look at the state of Nigerian football and for change in the structure and management of football in Nigeria. They say they longer shall sit on the fence and watch their game diminish in every way. They want to be a part of shaping the immediate future! I cannot agree more.

In football achievements and development the country seems to have reached a plateau above which it has been unable to rise and may indeed be on the downward slope.  When one travels around the world these days the question asked by the people we meet is ‘what is happening to Nigerian football?’ The Super Eagles have qualified for the World Cup and the celebrations were muted! Nigeria went to Angola lost only two matches, got to the semi-finals, and yet Nigerians expressed open dissatisfaction and disappointment with the manner their team played.  The Super Eagles, in spite of losing only two matches in almost two years do not command the same level of respect and confidence amongst Nigerians as they did prior to all the previous World Cups. If the way things are at the moment is not changed for better very few Nigerians would have any hope that a great outing awaits the Super Eagles when the team goes to South Africa for the World Cup in June! Something major must happen very soon to restore that kind of hope!  

That, perhaps, informs the present feeling that pervades the football atmosphere! As the country starts preparation for the World Cup the clamour all over the place is for change, and this change is not limited to the technical crew only but also to administration, the players and management! There has not been such a universal and concerted clarion call like this in ages! We have to wait to see how the drama of the immediate future will unfold. The country as a whole is ripe for wholesome change in its governance and vision. Football, an ordinary game but a microcosm of the polity, followed with an uncommon passion by the people, can provide illumination for the endless possibilities that lie ahead if things are done right in every other sphere in the country. We must get our football right. All the ingredients are available in talents, in passion, in followership, in human and economic capital!   

Meanwhile, no stakeholder in the football firmament should fold their arms and expect change to happen on its own. Everyone should take an interest, have their say, make an input and dive into the trenches with all others for the struggles and rofo rofo fights that lie ahead! Out of the rubbles of Angola shall birth a new dawn. That’s the prediction before the championship. It shall come to pass!

The World Cup – another project!

The World Cup is a project on its own. It is a totally different project from the African Cup of Nations. The level of competition is different. The requirements, reward and consequence of victory or defeat are also different! That’s why the present time presents the country with a new opportunity to look at what happened at Angola for guidance, learn from the experience and treat the matter of the World Cup as a new project! Towards the World Cup not much can be done to bring about wholesome change that will transform the whole gamut of Nigerian football considering the time available and the end of the tenure of the present administration that lapses soon after the World Cup. The process of addressing the bigger and more complex matter of wholesome change to Nigerian football, to lift the game above the present plateau and to take it to the heights that its potentials indicate should commence without being a distraction to the South Africa 2010 project.  That should be another project entirely!

VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.