Yesterday, Nigeria played Croatia. It was Nigeria’s first game, in the ongoing 2018 FIFA world cup taking place in Russia.
The Russian organization that I can see so far is of superlative elegance. Congratulations Russia.
To say that over 200 Million Nigerians were disappointed is an overstated understatement.
Anyone who is not familiar with what football means to the Nigerian, a few words is ad rem here.
Nigeria is an amorphous collection of ethnic nationalities very busy hating each other for much of the year, until the Nigerian national team plays. Then we become united for 90 minutes. We all become Nigerians. At the end of 90 minutes, we go back to our „tribalism huts“ If we win, we celebrate in our ethnic enclaves. The Neo-Biafranist interpretation, will remind other Nigerians that Jay Jay Okocha and half of that team is Biafran. And that without Biafrans in the team, that Nigeria will amount to nothing. The Hausa Arewa irredentist, will remind those “Yamiri” urchins that Igbos love money and steal and are corrupt as hell, although Sanni Abacha and IBB were not from the south. What that has got to do with football is still beyond me. The Afenifere supremacist will thumb his chest for belonging to the proud Yoruba nation and remind the two other fools, that the Yoruba fought for Nigerian democracy on June 12, and without that fight, Nigeria would have ceased to exist and couldn’t even have mustered a team.
If we lose, we become united in our hunt for scapegoats.
When Nigeria plays, 200 Million Nigerians all become football coaches, technical advisers, refereeing experts, strikers, defenders, wingers, midfield maestros rolled into one. Even though Nigeria has scarcely up to 100 standard, well maintained soccer pitches across the country.
That is the backdrop from which any outsider, who hopes to navigate the temperature of the Nigerian football fan must be apprised of.
Croatia defeated a lackluster Nigerian team.
We were not only disappointed; immediately the final whistle sounded, the typical Nigerian pastime took over. Without any respect for irony; over 200 Million Nigerians took up their flashlights, and descended into the anal cavities of triviality and started searching for THE scapegoat, or who to blame for that defeat, which Nigeria has meticulously planned for since 1960.
The painful thing is not that Nigeria lost the game. Football like every competition always produced a winner and a loser.
It is the fact that the Nigeria Super Eagles flew into Russia like a flashy peacock. She advertised her feathers. showed up like an august chicken readied for the slaughter. She advertised all her feathers, and was mercilessly singed by the brutal firepower of the Croats.
We are still searching for who to blame.
If Lai Muhammed and the Buharideens are to be as brazen as the lying buffoonery of the Trump administration presently sodomizing the United States institutions; they would as usual accuse the PDP of being responsible, that Mikel Obi and co., were schooled like kindergarten kids by the Croats.
Trust the Jonathanians to tell you that the grotesque incompetence of Buhari is responsible for that defeat, as if to say that their principal was any better.
While we await the return of the 200 Million Nigerian ‚Indiana Jones‘, presently in the anal cavities of self deception, armed with flashlights of illusion in search of the scapegoat responsible for the Super Eagles disastrous loss to Croatia, we have to shoot the arrows of truth to pierce the balloons of our pompous addiction to self deception.
Anyone who knows Nigeria, and who watched that game, would see in the performance of the Nigerian team, the same chaos that Nigerian commuters witness daily in Lagos traffic. No driver knows what the guy in front of him intends to do. There are no rules of engagement in this traffic. Anyone could decide to block the road and keep thousands of people stuck in traffic for hours on end, without rhyme or reason. There are no strategies for interaction on these roads. Land in Lagos and see for yourself.
The Nigerian structureless and dysfunctional approach to everything except corruption, was mirrored and faithfully executed by the Nigerian team in that game. There are no strategies for anything. It was not a team. It was just 11 individuals doing whatever pleases each one, and being sent around the field by the thoughtful, strategies and careful tactical discipline of the Croats.
The Nigerian team, like the Nigerian society that produced it, was the summary of incomprehensible non-cohesion. Does that remind you of anything? The Nigerian road? The Nigerian society or the Nigerian government?
That we lost to Croatia was not an event. It was a process that started in 1960.
Ask yourself: where do Nigerian kids learn to play football? On the streets! On jagged, uneven stretches of parched, arid, and abandoned spaces, rejected by man and possibly the gods as well, with „monkey posts“, without shoes or any soccer equipment; and without supervision or coaching.
Don’t forget that if soccer, which is the most popular sports in Nigeria could be so patronized with dereliction, until the day Nigeria national team plays, you can imagine what happens to other sporting activities.
The best that can be said here is that nothing happens.
Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. On their way to that title, she took Brazil to the Golgotha in their living rooms, and shat 7 times on their heads; and damaged the psyche of a great footballing nation before their fans, in the worst defeat ever experienced by Brazil.
People thought that Germany’s victory was just by accident or because they had luck or because they prayed to all the gods in their pantheons. Some racists in neo-Hitlerian mould, would allude it to superior genes.
These suggestions are defeated by the fact that Nigerians believe more in luck than Germans, and it is rumored that Nigerians, nay Africans have big „members“, indicative of good genes; and they pray to more gods than the Germans of today can ever think of.
Germany‘s successes are anchored in rationally planned out strategic investment and mechanical execution of a sporting policy.
Every village in Germany has more than one soccer complex made of three different standard soccer fields; one of natural grass, well maintained and manicured; one with artificial grass and the other with no grass called Hartplatz; for training all footballers from 4 years to 70 years old both male and female. Everyday of the week about three teams in various age brackets are either training or playing a competitive game on these fields.
Everyone plays with football boots. Each of these soccer complexes are well equipped with dressing rooms, referee rooms, toilets and bathrooms and stores for soccer equipment.
This happens in every village and every area of more than three streets in Germany.
Take a stroll across any of these complexes in the evenings, and you would see where Germany began and continues to feed her football dominance.
Every kid and every hobby footballer that plays soccer in Germany plays in team, which plays in a league organized by the German DFB. Everyone including myself has a football passport that bears every information about you. If you change to a new team, your passport would be transferred by the DFB to your new team.
It is highly organized from the lowest level to the highest level. Germany knows and follows everyone who plays football in this country. I mean everyone. Local newspapers report on the results and the proceedings of every game.
Can you say this of Nigeria?
Are those searching for scapegoats back?
Here is the reason why Nigeria failed and lost to Croatia.