By Paul Bassey
Let me repeat an argument. That one of the reasons why the leadership of the supporters club in Nigeria can afford to be uncomfortable with the Vuvuzela, is because they feel threatened.

In South Africa the Vuvuzela will definitely drown the supporters club, making their presence un necessary.
Back in Nigeria, this club has the habit of going solo. With a sponsored uniform they choose a corner in the stadium and drum and sing without regard to the larger supportership that had come to the stadium to cheer their National team.

Yesterday in Benguela, I saw the supporters and was happy praying that they will be able to survive in this financially difficult clime. I had to pray because I will never forget the embarrassment this country was subjected to when the supporters ran out of funds in Egypt and became subject of world ridicule.

Yes, yesterday I saw them and heard them. I heard something like “…..HE is a miracle working God……” and this rang out at the very beginning of the match. Please, I do not need a pastor or a reverend gentleman to help explain the import of that song. It is defeatist, it sends hopeless signals that need the intervention of the Almighty.

Ordinarily, this is a song that would have come after the Egyptians had scored their third goal, hoping for a Mali-like come back. But no, we decided from the beginning to invite heavenly succor, as if we were aware that disaster loomed.
Don’t expect me to write about the match.

Rather, permit me to inform you that the Presidential Task Force is on ground. They came in on the eve of the opening ceremony and flew into Benguela yesterday in a chartered Arik airline flight.

Few minutes before the match, I was on the phone with the NFF chairman and wished him luck.Three hours before then, I had cause to ask NFF Secretary General Dr.Bolaji Ojo Oba what he thought about our presence in Angola.

I said I wanted two answers, one from his head and another from his heart. He said there was no difference, that his head and his heart were unanimous that Nigeria was going to do well here.

Given our history in the competition, two cups and a couple of silver and bronze medals, I told him to define “.do well” he said I was a typical Nigerian who believed that doing well translated to winning the cup. For him we were going to do well. Unfortunately for him and the NFF, this position has not been well articulated and maybe too late in the day.

A lot of people believed that Angola offered an opportunity to prepare for the world cup, that is why younger players represented here by Obasi should have been given premium consideration, only for us to wake up and hear that the cup was going to determine Amodu’s South African chance, and quickly, he called Kanu, Aiyegbeni, Obafemi to process their travel documents.

Was I surprised by our defeat? Not really, after all Malawi shocked Algeria and Burkina Faso held Cote Divoire, world cup qualifiers all.

In the stadium lift at Lubango, I asked my guide whether the Chinese built the Stadium. He said yes. “Why?”  he asked. I said the lift said “ten persons “ and six of us could hardly find space in it.

See you tomorrow.


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