By Paul Bassey
On Saturday, three goals down, I had promised my friends that I was not going to write about the match. “ Win some, lose some,” I surrendered.
My phone went crazy as messages and mails flooded in. there was so much concern regarding a match many considered to be “jazz induced”. Yes we could be beaten “…. but we should not be disgraced” a friend screamed.
Three goals that again exposed our goalkeeper after some dreadful defending . Was Keshi going to substitute Agbim? I said I was not sure, but that in addition to substituting Agbim, he needed to also substitute not less than four defenders! ( Laughter )
Another friend went back to Saudi Arabia and the Dammam miracle in 1989. I said it was possible, after all I am a living witness to that great comeback, four goals down and just thirty minutes to go the Flying Eagles clawed their way back to beat USSR on penalties, a victory that kept me and Ikeddy Isiguzo of the Vanguard to lose our voices through incessant screaming and singing as we made our way back to Riyadh 25 years ago, but for that to be a reality, they needed to lift their game……..
Saturday is history. My son Daniel summarized it hilariously when at the final whistle he said “ Daddy, Keshi is on drugs…..”. first time I have heard of a coach being on drugs on the bench and the effect intoxicates his players on the field……..( Laughter…)
Yes today we can afford to laugh and salute the so called “ Nigerian spirit and resilience….” Yet must we go through hell to get to heaven’s door? Waiting to hear from the Coach on what really happened and what he told his boys at the dressing room even as Ken, Bob Lee, Ayo, Mrs Emah, Daniel, Sanusi, Gboyega,…..all concluded that since God was a Nigerian, this, was His doing……
For the future we must brace ourselves for a situation where for every one goal that Agbim will concede, his colleagues will score two!
As the match wore on, I thought it was also time to move ahead, destination Brazil. Go back twenty years to Calabar where Ette Effanga reigned supreme. Ette Effanga was the boss of the Cross River Referees Association. On this day one of his referees made a controversial call and the official of the affected team ran to Ette Effanga to complain. What he got as response startled him.
“ …My friend you are complaining about the referee, look at your dressing. See how your opposition is neatly dressed with every thing to match. Your jersey is tattered, the numberings an apology, already you have been beaten psychologically and you are here complaining about the referee……”
Chief Jonathan Ogufere former WAFU boss and President of the Sports Veterans Association of Nigeria took a look at Keshi during the FIFA Draws in Brazil and liked what he saw. “ Paul” he said “ Keshi should be suited during the world cup” I remember mentioning it during our last Technical Committee meeting, even as Onochie Anibeze, Group Sports Editor of the Vanguard also mentioned it last week.
He will not want Coach Keshi to use his trade mark track Suit during the World Cup. “……He can dress better than that. He should be corporately attired”
Readers may have a different view, just as the coach reserves the right to wear what he wants ( Don’t laugh……)
Why has the signing of Juan Mata causing Arsene Wenger so much pain? The man who his fans believe will win the league this year to banish eight years of agony has not slept since it was rumoured that Mata was on his way to Old Trafford. Wenger moaning was reverberated by Pellegrini, the Manchester City Manager who is also tipped to win the league.
I thought they said United was down and out? that they were finished? Just wait till Rooney and Versie come back…just wait they ain’t seen nothing yet ( Laughter…….)
I go back to Onochie on his brilliant column wondering why a South Africa that boast world champions in Rugby, Swimming, golf and athletics, a country that is doing well in tennis, hockey, boxing and cricket can go hysterical when we beat them in football, our “solitary sport”
Watching China’s Li Na win the Australia Open on Saturday took me back to Onochie and how tennis was dead here. For two weeks I have followed a sport that has made young men and women fly the flags of their country with pride, including the South African Kevin Andersen, the competition’s 19th seed
A sport that has thrown up promising youth in abundance, opening doors of fortune and fame…….Cibulkova of Slovakia, , Bouchard of Canada , Halep of Romania, Stephens of USA and Georgina Muguruza of Spain to mention a few of the ladies prospects…….not for us such opportunities.
Abeg , don’t let me spoil your day. Savour the Eagles victory and another great comeback in the history of our football…….
See you next week