This is the world. This is great. This is where all those who matter in football are. This is the World Cup already. Itâ€™s a special feeling and how painful it would have been for Nigeria not to be part of this.â€
These were the words of Green Eagles spokesman Idah Peterside from Cape Town, venue of the 2010 World Cup drawsÂ Â in South Africa.
Those who are already in town for the draws gathered at a beautiful resort called Leeuwenhos Garden for a cocktail party jointly organised by FIFA and the Local Organising Committee.
â€œWe have the world here,â€ Idah continued. â€œIâ€™m here with Michel Platini, Beckenbauer, Cafu, Dunga, Marcello Lippi, Kalusha Bwalya and our own Amodu Shaibu. And do you know what? We have just realised that Shaibu is the only black coach who qualified a country to the World Cup.
This is unique for us as this is a World Cup to be staged in Africa and Nigeria is the only African country with an indigenous coach. Nigeria is the only country with a black coach. Amodu is being congratulated everywhere here. He has become a face here and you can hear from Kalusha who is standing right here with me.â€
He handed the phone to Kalusha and the Zambian star, an African soccer ambassador, said the following in a brief chat: â€œEverybody here is excited, looking forward to the draws. I congratulate Nigeria for qualifying and to be part of this. It calls for celebration but most importantly, it calls for greater work. I know that you people can face the challenges and do Africa proud.
I would have loved Zambia to be here too. But we couldnâ€™t make it. This is a tribute to all those who have made it and Nigeria is one of them. The special thingabout Nigeria is that you donâ€™t need to bring supporters here. You have thousands if not millions of Nigerians in South Africa. Nigeria will have enough support, so letâ€™s look forward to the great games you will play.â€
On Amodu Shuaibu he said, â€œIt was a long road for him and other coaches. I congratulate him. There was pressure and there will continue to be pressure. Itâ€™s part of the challenge coaches go through. But we rarely support our coaches in Africa. We kill our own people. It is a situation Amodu has to live with and try to show strong character. That is the way to survive.â€
Peterside grabbed the phone back and yelled: â€œOnochie, Amodu is standing out here as the only black coach. We should be proud of this. And this is not about Amodu. It is about Nigeria. We have presented the only black coach in a World Cup that should have black colouration as it is being staged in Africa for the first time.
Tell Nigerians this. This place is beautiful and event here is amazing. See Algeriaâ€™s Saadane, see Van Marwijk of Holland. Marco Bielsa of Chile, see them, see people. Letâ€™s talk later.
Allow me savour this moment. Itâ€™s a Cocktail. Let me take something. All the big names in world football are here. Let me join them.â€