By Onochie Anibeze
THIS is the moment that we have all been waiting for.I know how it feels especially for those who are passionate about Nigeriaâ€™s football.
Tension will take the greater part of them. In Mozambique, Tunisia will be playing to sail on to 2010 World Cup. In Kenya, Nigeria will be struggling to win and hope that Tunisia gets stuck.
Tension will rule the day. We are paying for our inactions. If we played well in Maputo and won, we probably wouldnâ€™t be going through this tension.
Tunisia won their match in Kenya and they have remained on top since then. If we didnâ€™t give Tunisia space in Abuja they would not have equalized our goals. If we played friendly matches the way others did, we probably could have known a thing or two about our choice of players, their positioning and could have probably done better. Our qualification is no longer a one-off thing. 10 goals in Kenya will not lead us anywhere if Tunisia wins.
There are so many ifs on this march to South Africa.Â But the one that we forget easily is that if the referee allowed one of Mozambiqueâ€™s goals in that first match we would not be going through this tension now. The matter would have long been sorted out and we would have forgotten 2010 and would be talking about 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And thatâ€™s my message of today.
Yes, Iâ€™m one of those who wouldnâ€™t give up until the last minute. But good or bad, I want to suggest that we begin to plan for the World Cup in Brazil. I do so today for the sake of posterity, not that I expect those in charge to swing into action.
They will not. 2010 will come and god and in one or two years we would be lamenting over late preparation. You donâ€™t need to be a Nostradamus to predict events in Nigeria.
We donâ€™t need anybody to tell us that our elections will continue to be rigged or that corruption will continue to eat us up until some revolution takes place and compels some sanity into us. If everything in Nigeria is drowning why should sports sail on? But from the bottom of my heart, I wish we could start planning for the next World Cup now.
I wish we had started preparation for the London Olympics before now. I wish we had started doing something for next yearâ€™s Commonwealth Games before now. I wish we could project into the future and plan ahead. I wish we could implement some of the numerous recommendations in many of the workshops, seminars, panels and work committees that have volumes of literature on the solutions to our problems.
I wish we could be a little practical. We have had enough words. That we should return sports to the schools system has been recommended by various committees. That the ministries of education and sports should liaise to revive sports in schools has been recommended.
That football clubs should be made to have feeder teams and youth competitions held from the regional to the zonal and national levels has been recommended. That this will not only curb cheating in age grade competitions but also develop our football has been canvassed severally. That other sports be so organized has also been a common talk.
There are articulated ways to set all these in motion. But implementation has always been the problem. So, can the authorities surprise us by planning for 2014 World Cup now? I donâ€™t think that they will.
But letâ€™s tell ourselves the bitter truth. What impact can we make at the 2010 World Cup with the squad we have now if we qualify? Well, going by the constitution of current squad and the way they are organized I doubt if we can make any serious impact if some miracle happens and we qualify.
But with some rejuvenation, Nigerians will be awed at how expertise can turn things around for the same team. But who will rejuvenate the Eagles? Only those who know what the problem is can make an attempt, not the ones who say everything is alright and that they will swim and sink with Amodu and the squad the way they are now.
Amodu once talked about lack of quality players in Eagles. But he failed to inject any new blood into the team. He did not even go round to explore the possibility. I blame him for some tactical errors.Â I blame the federation that did not insist he goes around and does his job professionally.
I blame them for so many blunders that we committed in the organization of the Green Eagles throughout this campaign for 2010 World Cup ticket.Â I also blame the media for not barking loud enough. But didnâ€™t they?
What didnâ€™t they comment on or write about the flaws in Eagles only for the authorities to remain indifferent? It is like blaming the media for Benin-Ore Road that is not a phenomenon if you will agree with me. It is like blaming the media for corruption, energy failure, dilapidating infrastructure, the rot in education and health matters. That will not be fair.
The media have done fairly well in exposing our shortcomings and they have recommended the way out for our sports. But like other sectors of Nigeria, the situation has remained messy largely because of leadership problem. Now, they are spending so much to ensure Nigeria qualifies for the World Cup. I bet Nigerian football would have been better of if they channeled that money into developing the game.
Let me not go into this for some reasons now.
For 2010, tomorrow is judgment day. Good or bad, letâ€™s begin to plan for 2014 World Cup. From the elections into the boards of the ruling football bodies to the appointment of coaches, youth programmes and management of our national teams, letâ€™s begin to respect merit. Letâ€™s be professional. That way, we will maximize our potentials and can become world beaters in many sports even if not now in the near future.
I read your lament on the loss of our support style to South Africaâ€™s vuvuzela. I blame the supporters club for making their club a seemingly exclusive thing otherwise they would have had more members which would make them vocal in any stadium.
Their inaction led to the takeover from vuvuzela. The way it spread shows people were hungry for some action which they foundÂ with vuvuzela. My contribution is that it can be harmonized to produce music. That way it will not be noisy. Right now, itâ€™s just noisy.
Maurice Inok, Calabar.
Kudos, I think you should talk write more on vuvuzela. Why are we such copycats? Let them stop it. It is not Nigerian
Re Killing our support style.
You wrote that commentators know no peace. Fans watching at home too know no peace. I turn off volume and watch pictures only to avoid the noise from vuvuzela – 08051915334
Vuvuzela – I was reading an article in the Guardian this morning in praise of vuvuzela as a football support device. What has happened to our own home-grown trums, talking drums, percussion sticks, maracas, rhythmic songs that gave us a globally recognized brand identity in the past? Is this imported vuvuzela not another form of cultural colonization? God save us -Dan
Onochie, you are doing a great job. I nearly switched off the TV yesterday because of the noise. Our style is better. Let others copy us. Why are we losing everything?