By Paul Bassey
No matter the result of yesterday’s match against Spain, or what will become of the Flying Eagles desperate fight to get back into contention against Cuba in Turkey today, I have made up my mind to “Port” join and support another sport.
I know it will be difficult deciding which sport I want to pitch my tent, but I just must make an effort if I do not want to drop dead, killed by football, maimed by a group of boys who go about their business lackadaisically, not minding what happens to my mental and psychological state.
It was in this column that I reported how my blood pressure shot up in Kenya as I watched the Eagles fluffing scoring chances that were to help draw us nearer Brazil.
Those who went to Namibia have worse stories to tell. Before our match, Kenya had done us the favour of holding Malawi, so all we had to do was to beat Namibia and qualify with a match to spare.
‘Match to spare’ meant that we could have used that last match to field our domestic players who incidentally have a tough CHAN assignment against Cote Divoire. Qualifying with a match to spare would have meant not “wasting” precious funds inviting twenty players from abroad and all attendant expenses and anxiety to win the last match.
Qualifying with a match to spare would have afforded us the opportunity of trying out players in the striking position, a department that has been so glaringly hollow in the current Eagles set up… in Namibia we suddenly fell behind and had to struggle to level and leave qualification to the last match!
How could they win when all their thoughts were focused on their planned war with the NFF over bonuses?
That is the headache, the stress, the trauma that we go through supporting our football. How can I forget having to wake up by 2am to watch the Eagles play a friendly against Mexico? Even having to stay awake till eleven PM to catch the Confederations Cup encounter with Uruguay was such a huge sacrifice that no doctor will recommend to his patient especially those of us above 50.
Yet, when you dare to express YOUR opinion, say it the way you feel, you get insulted by those who want you to adopt their own view point, not respecting or minding your informed and authoritative position. Being uncouth and disrespectful, using foul and abusive language does not and will never be a substitute for a superior line of argument.
Take the match against Uruguay as an example. While some believe we played well and should have at least benefitted a draw, there are those who say we did not do well, that we were stereotyped and not lethal in front of goal. Also embrace those who say no matter how well or how badly you play, if you do not score, do not win, then you cannot lay claim to any credit.
Last Friday was a bit better because very few Nigerians were expecting anything from a coach who wasted a whole tournament experimenting with new players when he should have used the same tournament to fortify his team.
Predictably, by the end of the first half, the Flying Eagles were two goals down. Those who put off their sets and went to sleep were surprised to hear the next day that the match ended 3-2. Those of us who were condemned to watch till the end were falsely made to believe there was hope with an unbelievable equalizer….then Kaput. Back to status quo.
I have decided to Port, look for another sport to support and follow, but which? Last week end, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria held its yearly trials in Calabar yet its activities were swallowed by the football crazy press.
Maybe that is where I should go, face reality and promote substance. As I am writing this column, newspapers stare me in the face all of them screaming HOPE….
How Spain is beatable, how Flying Eagles will BOUNCE back, luring me to another bout of psychological trauma. At the end of the day, if we flounder and fail,(God forbid) they will scream GALLANT EAGLES. No I must Port. I should Port
See you next week.