As the Super Eagles continue to fumble in international football scene, President General of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo says it’s heartbreaking for his members to give so much support to the senior national team only to watch them lose crucial matches to the opponents.
The best result earned by the Eagles in their last two matches was the 1-1 draw against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in an international friendly game played in Nelspruit last weekend.
Earlier last week, the Eagles, playing under stand-in coach, Daniel Amokachi lost by a goal to the Cranes of Uganda in Uyo, South East Nigeria. These results came after the disappointment of Eagles’ failure to qualify for this year’s African Cup of Nations, AFCON, held in Equatorial Guinea.
Ladipo, while speaking at the Supporters Club secretariat in Surulere, Lagos, said: “There was nothing wrong for Nigeria playing friendly matches because such games give us an opportunity to assess our team, but losing to a team like Uganda at home was embarrassing.
“It’s sad that our dear Super Eagles are not doing well at the moment. It is heartbreaking for our members and football loving Nigerians, as the Eagles have not been giving us the required results, especially after they failed to qualify for the Cup of Nations”.
The Supporters boss, who regretted Eagles’ 41st position in FIFA Ranking, explained that the supporters have resolved to rally round the national team at this trying moments.
“Although, the supporters are going through a lot of pain because of the current performance of the Eagles, but that will not make us to lose our heads. We will never be violent in our conduct.
“Rather, we are focused and planning to wax stronger to ensure that all our darling national teams, not only the Super Eagles, get the required support during their games”, he said.
He however disclosed that two more chapters of the Supporters Club would be launched in Gabon and Canada before middle of April this year, ‘to spread their tentacles across the world’. The supporters club, which has its Headquarters in Nigeria, has 29 international chapters, including England, China, USA, Holland, Germany, Japan, France, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic and Niger.
As the Eagles are gearing up for the 2017 Nations Cup qualifying series, Ladipo admonished handlers of the team to raise a strong team that football loving Nigerians will be proud of. “To me, some of the players in the Eagles right now have no business in the team. We have better players out there, so I urge the coaches to look out for these talents and invite them to raise the standard of the Eagles”.
Ladipo also gave the panacea for a smooth football transition from the youth to senior level in Nigeria, saying: “Nigeria should go back to the grassroots. Our players should graduate through the academical. That’s where we should go back to. Let the authorities do the needful by going back to start football development from the grassroots, this will make our game improve in a matter of few years”.
Ladipo concluded by describing the current Flying Eagles under Coach Manu Garba as Nigeria’s future Dream Team; “I also see the current Flying Eagles as a true example of what developmental football is about. These boys started from the U-13, graduated to the U-15 and U-17 and Nigeria has kept the boys together for about eight (8) years now.
“They won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE in 2013, and also won the U-20 AYC in Senegal recently. The Flying Eagles are due to make history at the FIFA U-20 World Cup again this year. That’s the real Dream Team that can graduate to the Super Eagles in about three Years’ time”, Ladipo told