By IkeddyÂ Isiguzo
SUPER Eagles handler got it wrong when he said he would be sacked if the Eagles lose to Tunisia on Sunday. I do not think he fully appreciates the enormity of the task ahead of him. I thought he would have offered that he would resign if the Eagles lose. He would wait for a sack? I wonder who he is expecting to write the letter.
If the Eagles lose, there would be no secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation. If the Eagles lose, the players would be lucky to find a bus to take them back to their hotel. If the Eagles loseâ€¦
Who even isÂ talking of a loss? I hope Amodu is talking about the same game. Tunisia are two points ahead of the Eagles, thanks to the draw
that we got in Sousse. Another draw in Abuja forecloses our chances of going to the World Cup as Tunisia remain two points ahead, with the two remaining games, one at home against Kenya, who they beat 2-1 in Nairobi and the last one away to Mozambique.
The Abuja game is not about guesses and â€œifsâ€. Nigerians expect Amodu should have a plan to win the game and keep winning the rest of the way, which is the only way to fend off Tunisia. There would have been ways of judging the seriousness of the coach about the game, he has denied us the opportunities.
Many thought a friendly was important to test the current state of the Eagles before a game of this magnitude and intensity. The coach said
no, and we have all been shut up with the reminder that the coach has the final say on the team, though we all share the final pain, when it comes.
Amodu is buzzing with confidence. I do not share his optimism. Please pardon my pessimism. It would not be in his place to drop any hint that Nigeria cannot qualify for the World Cup. Some pointers are emerging about the fears ruling the road to South Africa 2010.
There is the major issue of the appointment of South African referee Daniel Bennet at the centre. Those who know say it is a bad sign. The man was at the centre when Angola ran away with the draw in Kano in 2005, and Nigeria’s ticket to the 2006 World Cup. Does Bennet make us lose games or we are already making excuses?We all know that the issues that nailed us in Kano started in far away Luanda, where the Eagles barely mustered a team.
Pressures are mounting. The Presidential Task Force, an admission that we live for the day, has raised billions of Naira. The $10,000 winning bonus is outdated, since the Eagles got the same amount in Sousse for a draw. With the importance of this game, anything from $50,000 would be in place.
Governors, business people, and those who act on the moment have raised billions of Naira for the Eagles. Money is not a problem, the only challenge could be in allocating it.
For the crowd that would jam all the seats at the Abuja National Stadium, the expectation is that the Eagles would win this game in a way that would ease the tension that has built up over the team’s performance and for the more depressing performance of a government that thinks sports development is raising billions of Naira for a match, while forgetting that millions of Nigerians are missing daily opportunities of making their country great because their governments act only on ad hoc basis, as the fund raising for the Eagles testify.
I wish the Super Eagles luck, they require lots of it. I also hope they soar above the weight on their fragile wings as they fight for their lives before a people who have been fed too many excuses that they are simply fed up.
Nigeria Can Run Again I RECEIVED with remarkably shock the prophecy of the President for the Nigeria Athletic Federation, AFN, Chief Solomon Ogba, that it would take Nigeria 10 years to return to world reckoning, or to put it as he did, to get to where the Jamaicans are. Ten years translate to five World Championships from now, almost four Commonwealth Games, and three Olympic Games. These are international competitions where we have the chance to test ourselves against the world’s athletics powers, including the Jamaicans, in all three cases.
We are being primed to live through 10 years of poor performances. I disagree with Chief Ogba on several scores. Things can either get better or worse. He should not be under the illusion that in those 10 years we would be static, no I can guarantee that.
I also know that if intervention strategies are used, we can break into the top ranking within years as they say, terms and conditions apply. Send comments, condemnations, commendations to firstname.lastname@example.org