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Super Eagles and money for goals: Patriotism or ‘monetariotism’?

The 2021 edition of AFCON for the Super Eagles of Nigeria began on a brighter note with the epic defeat of the Egyptian team and…

The 2021 edition of AFCON for the Super Eagles of Nigeria began on a brighter note with the epic defeat of the Egyptian team and consequent wining of all matches at the group stage. The Eagles therefore, emerged as the only team to have won all matches at the group stage, putting her ahead of others in the round of 16 outing and consequent predictions of it lifting the trophy by pundits.

Shockingly and unfortunately, the Super Eagles was defeated by the Tunisian team on Sunday night; a development that shocked several Nigerians home and abroad. Football, they say, is a game of luck (good or bad luck), to the point some Nigerians attributed the Super Eagles’ loss to Tunisia to President Muhammdu Buhari’s call, which appears very cheap. Is football really a game of luck? It may and it may not.  To me, it is a game of hard work and dynamic tactics.

The  big question that  serves as the crux of this piece is, why are the so-called rich Nigerians quick at making financial promises to the Super Eagles as a way of motivating players at crucial games? Patriotism or money; (love for father land or monetariotism-love for money), which should fire the spirit of players in the national team to play as if they would have their intestines cut off? At the club side, which is essentially imperial in outlook, monetariostim which is the spirit of capitalism may be the deciding factor, but in the national team like the Super Eagles, patriotism and nationalism which entails the incurable passion and love for the father land or nation should prevail.

If games are to be won by financial motivation and promises, how much was promised to The Scorpions of The Gambia that defeated Tunisia (Gambia 1, Tunisia 0)?  The argument is that, not that all the players lacked a sense of patriotism as one could see a good number of them like Moses Simon, Ndidi, among others  shedding tears and others appearing  very sorrowful after the  epic loss to Tunisia.   

What then should be the way forward? Monetary promises that appear as the engine drive of the players should be henceforth stopped by the so-called well to do Nigerians and the government. And above all, some of our renowned Professors of History and Political Science should be engaged at home to give lectures to the players on the topic of patriotism and nationalism.

On this notes, the likes of Professors CBN Ogbogbo, Okpeh O.Okpeh Jr, Sam Egwu, Dan O. Chukwu, of the University of Ibadan, Federal University, Lafia, University of Jos and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka respectively are strongly recommended.

The recommendation comes because these are scholars after listening to, on the topic of nationalism, one would be bound to shed tears. Such provocative lectures and rising spirit are timely and needed before players enter the pitch for the battle of the game of football. Had that happened, the outcome of the encounter with Tunisia would have been different.

They should be made to understand the nitty-gritty of the national anthem often sung. I would have been one of the finest strikers the country would have ever produced but my late mother, Grace Onyaidu Odeh never allowed me to play to full development.

She was told by one of my teachers at the Primary School (Mr. Ada Ehoche) from Adoka Benue State, that most children that play football are not academically and educationally good. The thinking was that where book and love for it is supposed to stay in the brain, the love for football would occupy there.  In summary, monetary promises, though not completely bad, should be deemphasized and Super Eagle players should be given constant spirited lectures on nationalism and patriotism by seasoned Nigerian scholars.  President Muhammadu Buhari therefore, should be exonerated out of the Supper Eagle’s failure and lost to Tunisia.

Dr. Godwin Onuh Odeh,

Department of History, Sokoto State University.