ByÂ Onochie Anibeze
The wife of Green Eagles spokesman, Idah Peterside, expects to meet him in their Johannesburg home immediately after Nigeriaâ€™s outing at the ongoing Nation Cup in Angola.
But, Friday, Idah called the wife to tell her to get ready to join him in Nigeria, meaning that he may be heading straight to Nigeria after the Nations Cup. The following is his reason for such a message.
â€œI think there will be reception for us after the Nations Cup. I say so because we are winning the cup. So, rather than return to South Africa, I have told my wife to meet me up in Nigeria.â€
Eagles are playing Zambia today in the quarter-final. The last time the two countries met was in the final of the Nations Cup in 1994. Nigeria won with Emmanuel Amunekeâ€™s goals.
There was a lot of tension in Eagles camp before their 3-0 spanking of Mozambique last Wednesday. The news that coach Shuaibu Amodu would be sacked and that some players in the team would not make the team to the World Cup unsettled the team. But after the victory the camp atmosphere changed.
â€œYou needed to see our training sessions since that victory especially the following day. Never have I seen the players do things rightly the way they did them. The training sessions have been fantastic since then. The spirit is high and their hunger for action is high. It was not like this before. The adaptation is highly professional. From what I have seen of the players, it will be very difficult for them to lose Mondayâ€™s match.
The thing is that they are no longer talking of any possible defeat. When the news first came that we were to play Cameroun, the boys said, â€œgood, weâ€™ll prove people wrong.â€ Later the news changed and said that it was now Zambia and the boys said â€˜BETTER.â€™
â€œIn the past, they played their matches and went their ways expecting to meet anybody. This time, the players were in their rooms watching the matches and badly looking forward to who their opponents would be. The feeling has been very strong. When Zambia were confirmed as our next opponents, the boys said that Nigerians should be looking forward to the final. The confidence is unbelievable.
Their understanding is getting better and better and so is their game both in training and in match situations. But between the match against Mozambique and now, thereâ€™s tremendous progress, big one for that matter and Nigerians will see it on play.â€
Idah is a friend of Kalusha Bwalya, the African football legend who is the FA chairman of Zambia. They do soccer analysis for Supersport in South Africa. Asked if he had spoken with him since Nigeria were drawn to meet them, he said â€œI will talk to him after the match. I donâ€™t have any need to talk to him now. When the game is over, our friendship continues.â€ It was, however, on a light note.