By Jacob Ajom
One of the most vilified Super Eagles players following the defeat to Tunisia was Sadiq Umar. Some fans believe if the lanky striker had converted the last minute chance he had, the tide would have changed against the Tunisians.
The morning after, Sports Vanguard visited the Hotel Le Ribadou camp of the Eagles for an appropriate situation report. When we got there, a lot of Nigerian journalists were already at the gate of the hotel, manned by stern looking policemen. Eventually, we were allowed in. We observed the camp was quiet and the general mood very sombre. Only Almera striker, Sadiq Umar was found sitting by the swimming pool, making a phone call. He looked good on the call, waving at the journalists there to mop up whatever was left that could be newsworthy.
Noticing that he had ended his phone chat, they swooped on him. There was no escape. He was calm.
Now facing the journalists, he looked sober, like one with a hangover from the loss to Tunisia the previous night.
“It was a hard one to take, ” he confessed. “We disappointed millions of Nigerians and our fans here and back home. It was not expected. One could see how we lowered our heads after the match because all of us felt we led Nigerians down. My appeal to them is that they should keep supporting because the Nigerian flag can never go down.”
What went wrong against Tunisia? Umar was philosophical in his response. “When one loses, everything goes wrong but when you win, everything is right. It didn’t go our way, and that is football. When we put this behind us, we will come back stronger”
Looking ahead to the World Cup playoff tie against Ghana, Sadiq continued, “When certain things happen to you, they make you stronger. I’m sure we will come out stronger from yesterday’s defeat and qualify for the World Cup.”