Green Eagles winger, Osaze Odemwingie has told Nigerians, still sulking over the teamâ€™s inglorious group stage exit at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to come out of their depression and count themselves lucky to have their team amongst the privileged 32 nations who played at the first World Cup to hold on the African continent.
After failing to qualify for the 2006 edition held in Germany, Nigeria returned to the global stage at South Africa 2010 but failed to cross the first round hurdle, owing to two defeats against Argentina and Greece and a draw against South Korea. It was generally adjudged by soccer pundits to be the worst ever outing by the squad as the players struggled to find form and performed below par, leaving many tongues wagging as to what went wrong.
Osaze, a major linchpin during the qualifying process for Nigeria, was expected to shine like a million stars in the Rainbow nation but when it mattered most, he just, could not find his range. At the end of the tournament, the former Rennes of France striker, even lost his cool when he said that Lagerbackâ€™s tactics led Eagles to doom in South Africa.
And speaking during the week, the Lokomotiv of Russia player, has been trying to play up the brighter sides of playing at the first World Cup.
â€œNigerians can take solace in being amongst the 32 nations that participated at the 2010 World Cup. It was a special one because it was the first to hold on the African continent, even though, our performance was not good but being there at all, should make us proud
â€œI would say that South Africa 2010 was a total celebration for all Africans because Africa, not only delivered a successful organisation but a team like Ghana made us proud by reaching the quarterfinal stage.
It was not all gloom because Africans showed that they too could organise international competitions, to the admiration of all and sundryâ€, added Odemwingie.