By Jacob Ajom
Nigeriaâ€™s renewed quest for glory in football suffered its biggest setback penultimate weekend when the Super Eagles failed to beat their Tunisian counterparts in a 2010 World Cup qualifier played at the National stadium, Abuja. It was indeed a â€™black Sundayâ€™ for all Nigerians who thronged the Abuja stadium and for millions who either watched the lethargic showing of the Nigerian team on television.or followed the match commentary on radio.
Former Abia State Governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu was quick to say that the Super Eagles gave Nigerians a Black September.â€ He wonâ€™t be far from the truth because as things are now, it will take a miracle for Nigeriaâ€™s flag to flutter in South Africa when the world gather next year for the first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Africa.
Officials at the Nigeria Football Federation secretariat are not losing any sleep. They are assuring that all hope is not lost yet as Nigeria could still make it to the Mundial.. They even boasted that they will swim or sink with Coach Amodu Shuaibu.Â But discerning Nigerians are irked by this posturing as they feel the NFFâ€™s grandstanding over South Africa 2010 has become a distraction.
All attention should be geared towards the national U-20 team, the Flying Eagles who will be taking on the rest of the world at the FIFA Junior World Cup beginning September 24.
After series of tune-up matches in Spain, the Flying Eagles are expected to arrive Egypt on today(Friday) full of hope and expectations. Prior to their trip to Spain, the Nigerian lads who are handled by Coach Samson SiasiaÂ had taken part in a four-nation tournament in Egypt where they confronted fellow qualifiers, Ghana, Venezuela and host Egypt. The Eagles finished second behind the hosts.
After all the preparations and adjustmentsÂ the real task is here as the team which won a silver medal at the 2007 edition in Holland will launch a fresh campaign for the trophy this weekend.
Coach Samson Siasia has declared the readiness of the squad he unveiled last week to do the job. His decision to drop some of the popular names from the FIFA U-17 World Cup winning squad has been received with calm by Nigerians who believe in Siasiaâ€™s ability to instill discipline in his team.
The coachâ€™s technical depth is not in doubt as he has proved that he ranks among the best in the world.
After the silver winning effort in Holland in 2007, Siasia was again called upon to lead the Nigerian Olympic team to Beijing. He acquitted himself again with yet another silver medal when the Dream Team ironically lost to Argentina in a thrilling final..
The chance for Coach Samson Siasia to prove his mettle is now. Some Nigerians have gone comical, saying without Nigeriaâ€™s arch rivals in age-group competitions, Argentina, a country they consider as Siasiaâ€™s nemesis, this might just be his moment of glory. Can Siasia wipe our tears?