By Chioma Gabriel
There is a thing about Nigerians and it crops up in anything that has to do with our national life. I am not crazy about football for instance but anytime the Eagles have an international match, I support them to the moon and back. I always endeavor to watch international matches involving Super Eagles.
Naturally, I am very eager for the ongoing world cup matches. When the Super Eagles’ T-shirt was thrown open to the fans, one of my brothers got himself a good one. He also got an extra one which I grabbed. Unfortunately, the Super Eagles lost the first match with Croatia. Some of the people who bought the Super eagles T-shirt cast them away after that match with Croatia including my brother.
Men of little faith. I’m sure some are regretting their action after Iceland.
The next day after losing to Croatia, I was bold enough to still wear the T-shirt out and was shocked by the level of disdain by people who were pained by the fact that Nigeria lost the match. Someone warned me not to come close to him wearing that ‘cursed’ T-shirt; another said that the Super Eagles lost the match because people like me who knew nothing about football adorned the t-shirt.
Everywhere I wore the T-shirt, it triggered off bad memories of the match. The players were torn to shreds. They were called all manner of names. Some called them Super Chickens. As for the referee, many lacked the adjective with which to qualify him. It was the name on earth they didn’t remember that he was not called. We have no team. We have no goalkeeper. We have no coach. We have nothing. The female team is better. Nigeria took an all-women team to the world cup. John Mikel Obi is a bad number 10. Nigeria lost a good No.6 to get a bad No.10. Victor Moses kept falling. Super Eagles went to Russia for a modeling contract. It was all a fashion show for them.
There were others who were more interested in the T-shirt. They sized up my shirt and wondered if it was original or fake. Some asked out rightly how much I bought my own since the original costs N41,000. If I said it was original, many may come up with other ideas and if I said it was fake, another talk would also come up.
So, I answered with an MKO Abiola proverb. Anything MKO Abiola is a winner today. If you have a business in Kano and decide to go by air and another person going the same way decides to go by road, at the end of the day, the issue is getting to Kano and whether you do so by air or by road; you will definitely meet in Kano.
And so, whether my shirt was fake or original, the most important thing was my visible support for the Super Eagles.
For me, it was not just about the shirt. I have a blind faith that the Super Eagles would win the next match with Iceland and I said so openly. Many asked me how they would win. I didn’t know how but I was vehement that Super Eagles would win, that we shouldn’t throw away the baby and the bathwater. It was a familiar feeling and it often happens the way I feel it.
Thursday night in the office, the argument came up again. I insisted and many of us maintained that the Super Eagles would win. When they asked each of those with blind faith for the team to drop N20,000 each as a bet, nobody could.
That has always been the issue with football and indeed any other thing. Nobody likes to lose a game but Nigerians take it to the next level.
At the end of the day, I am proud to have believed in the Eagles and they didn’t fail.
Friday evening I still adorned my Super Eagles team shirt, said a short prayer and sat down to watch the match. After the first half, I knew the goals would come in the second match.
And they will not disappoint.
We should always keep faith alive no matter what.