The waiting game continues for Nigerian football. Once, again, the once revered Super Eagles couldn’t even fly in the African Cup of Nations. So much for naming big African teams after powerful animals. It was the Pharaohs of Egypt who retained the coveted trophy, thereby becoming the only country to have won the African Nations Cup for a record six times. They beat everyone’s erstwhile favourites, the Elephants of
So much for footballing miracles. It abruptly ended when the ‘Super’ Eagles won their final group match against the lowly rated
Never before in the history of Nigerian football have we seen eleven overgrown men with bloated egos struggling for fluidity on the football field, while donning the national colours. To over 100 million Nigerian fans, it felt like watching a bad Nollywood movie in slow motion. Despite the faith of Nigerian fans at the stadium who tried hard to cheer the Eagles, the chorus turned into a broken record when the Eagles eventually lost to
When John Mikel-Obi was still in diapers, Jay-Jay Okocha had already come of football age. Before the Aiyegbenis and Utakas of this world graced English Football, one Daniel Amokachie had already tasted champagne from one of its trophies. In terms of European football, Finidi George had seen it all. The real Super Eagles in the glory days of Clemens Westerhof showed enough commitment, passion, discipline and patriotism on the pitch. But for the big boys in the Eagles team today, playing for the national team is just to fulfill all righteousness; after all, the premiership requires a particular number of matches for any player to be eligible for its competitions.
But one shouldn’t just blame the players only. It’s the administration of football that is largely at fault. Nigerian football, which has been teetering on the edge, is almost falling over the precipice; unless something drastic is done.
How did it find itself in such a mess?
The warning signals had been there for years. But it was ignored by the authorities. Nigerians don’t help matters as well, especially those who could influence how the game is being run by our administrators; they have a short memory. When the Eagles were thrashed in the second round of the ’98 World Cup, they said the team would rebuild with younger players and a driven and seasoned coach. When they were bundled out of 2002 world cup, everyone said this was a young team that if groomed well, could conquer
The North Africans have been dominating African football in recent years like they did in past decades due to their efficient organization of football. “Things have got to change in the backroom of Nigerian football. There is a lot of work to be done,” said Ekoku; only if the administrators (and players) would listen. The pitch is crowded by too many charlatans than men truly given to a just cause.
This is not a case for Berti Vogts. But sacking the embattled German is like cutting off an infected plant when it is the soil that is polluted. The root problem of Nigerian football is the pollution in the system. Until the system of managing
In one breath, what Nigerian football needs are the right people to pilot its management. Afterwards, the rest pieces of the puzzle would fall exactly in place. Then, we can proceed from there. Or maybe the Supporters Club can switch allegiance to Boxing and Samuel Peters,