ByÂ Ikeddy Isiguzo
MANY may think that I would be triumphant over the Super Eagles loss of the 2010 World Cup ticket, haven warned endless about the consequences of our inane preparations. On the contrary, I am sad with millions of Nigerians who are often led to over-estimate the strength of the national team. The play with national emotions must stop.
Our Super Eagles were not world class on Sunday, and they have not been for a while. It is something to be ashamed of, except that we are dealing with people who have no sense of shame, or lost it long ago.
Those who created the non-performing team called the Super Eagles knew what they were doing from the beginning. Their eyes were in the initial successes of the team and the attendant crumbs from a nation obsessed with victory, any victory, that there is no time to make an analysis of where were are heading, and the fact that we would not get there, if ever we do, in a good piece.
Our shamelessness is unimaginable. A team draws a game that certainly throws it out of the World CupÂ a vast field of opportunities for our countryÂ and we reward the players (and most likely their officials who often get more than the players) with a $10,000 bonus.
When this happened after the draw in Rades, we agreed that the team pulled off a result that gave it a chance if it wins in Abuja.
The argument for the $10,000 wasted on each player on Sunday, is that they did not lose the game, an argument that coach Shuaibu Amodu has stretched before those who dared ask him to resign. I had predicted that nobody would sack Amodu, it is too much to expect that he would resign. We cannot also expect that any of the players would have a sense of shame to return the $10,000.
I do not know what would cause Nigerians more pain, the fact that the Eagles are out of the World Cup or that some people are pocketing $10,000 for getting us out of the competition. It is absurd, it is bizarre it is incomprehensive that an outrageous performance like the sort we saw on Sunday is rewarded in a manner that suggests that the players and their officials did their best, and deserved our reward.
When you reward mediocrity, what next do you expect?
The dangers in this loss lie more in our conduct than the exit from the World Cup. Unless sanctions are imposed, and people held accountable for this great loss, we would be marching toward an open pit that would ensure that we are also not at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The signals are there.
They remind everyone that Nigeria can beat Mozambique in Abuja on October 11 and finish off Kenya in Nairobi on November 14. The calculators have also worked out the possibility that Tunisia would lose in Mozambique, in their final game, and draw against Kenya. One of the conclusions therefore is that Tunisia would make only a point in its next two games, for nine points, while the Super Eagles would win their two games and acquire six points for a total of 12 points, and take the ticket.
Another calculation is that Tunisia would win one at home and lose the final game away to Mozambique for a total of 11 points while our suddenly ambitious Super Eagles would garner six points from two games to finish with 12 points.
In the most unlikely event of the two teams tying at 12 points, we should note that the head-to-head count would resolve the tango in Tunisia’s favour as they scored more away goals than us in our encounter with them. Technically, they won the game in Abuja.
One thing that must be done urgently is to stop further waste of the billions of Naira the Presidential Task Force raised. The money should be rescued from the calculator optimists, who know that the World Cup ticket is lost, but want further chances of paying out $10,000 to players and officials who crawl when our sky-high expectations are that they would fly.
While we are at it, everything must be done to stop the unconscionable board members of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, from yoking their blistered future with Nigerian football.
My Error: In a series of articles on this game, I kept referring to the venue of the game the Eagles drew against Tunisia last July as Sousse. I have been in error. The venue was Rades. Please send complaints, condemnations, commendations to firstname.lastname@example.org