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OPINION: The Abuja’s partey’s party and Nigeria’s unremitting lamentations



Two months since I wrote any article. Yes, I took a break because writing couldn’t give me the healing that I really desired. Albeit, 29th March 2022 was an exception, my head professed total frustration at a time when I was trying to get my mind off the “blitzkrieg” that was hitting up the country. Yes, from the Kaduna airport that was attacked, to the railway that was bombed, and the train that was “stopped” with over 60 passengers dead, while others are still missing. In all of these, I was pained and disturbed, I needed to heal my mental health. Hence, the coinciding hope that came around that day was the Nigeria Ghana qualifying match, which I optimistically went to the viewing center to get my head clear, with the hope that we’d win and qualify for the World Cup competition respectively.

Then boom, Tuesday, 29th March, 2022 was the critically droopy day in the football industry of the country, as the Thomas Partey’s away goal hindered the Super Eagles of Nigeria from qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 2006. It was a beautiful extravagant party for the Ghanaians and a gut-wrenching repenting hour for Nigerians. Hence, for this reason, I came out of early of this retirement to rant aggressively about remorseful implications and the future of Nigeria’s football.

The 1-1 draw which lead to the ousting of the Super Eagles by the Black Stars of Ghana in the last round of the World Cup qualifications that was played at MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja would not be forgotten in a hurry by soccer-loving Nigerians and fans of the team. The Super Eagles ouster came at a time they were being tipped to qualify on account of their seemingly “hopeful” performance at the last AFCON tournament. Indeed, the fans reacted aggressively to this lost, as they invaded the pitch after the Tuesday match, tried to attack the players and even vandalised a lot of facilities on the pitch.

In the same vein, a non-football fan was asking me the question of why the fans aggression, I do not vindicate the question attitude of these fans, but at the same time it was “understandable” why they pulled this behavior, and why millions of Nigerians are still ranting aggressively. First, shall we talk about how the over 100 million football fans wouldn’t be able to watch their darling Green and White football players contest on the field of play? Or rant about the painful part that we were thrown out of the tournament by our noisy neighbours, which is one of the most painful thing that can happen to one in football?

Shall we rant about how millions of the country’s citizens, particularly the youths will have to find other alternative to watching football when the World Cup begins? Or also talk about how Nigeria itself might loose many sponsorship deals to due our lackadaisical failure to qualify for the most watched football competition in the World? Again, shall we also talk about all the opportunities that the players would have had to ‘market’ themselves in the World Cup for a place in any number of lucrative professional leagues abroad? Ask Victor Osihmen about this?

You can also ask the Minsiters, Government officials Political appointees, commissioners about this “missed vacation”? Ask Octopus Nigeria, Juju man, Imam and Pastors of the Nigerian predictions? Even more ask the average Nigerian Journalist, ask them all of their frustrations.

READ ALSO: OPINION… Too Young To Rule: Nigerian Youths and their flat-footedness

All of these things, and even more, as a result of the shenanigans of a football stakeholders and the lackadaisical attitude of footballers who consider their personal interests above the interest of the people, the game itself and the country. If the persons involved in all these “fracases” truly realise the damage their action or inaction has caused, what is at stake, the hardships they have brought to homes and entire sectors of the sports industry, they would be on the pages of newspapers seeking for the forgiveness of Nigerians for their failure to qualify for a competition they used four years to prepare. Yes? I heard the Coach Eguavoan resign from being coach, i also heard the NFF dissolved the Super Eagles coaching crew? Is that what Nigerian really wants to hear, Maybe some wants that, but i doubt that?

So what next, after the disastrous exit, as we are still brooding over the great loss, yes, we won’t go to the world cup but maybe there’s still time to rejig the team into the shape that will bloom glory in the nearest future. There is no doubt that the team has talented young and energetic players. With adequate grooming, the team can go far. Thank God, Augustine stepped down, but whoever will be in charge of the team, now that World Cup is over for us, he must must ensure that Nigeria go back to th basic and get a structure for it own football.

Now that Eguavoan is Out, the country needs a new coach, I don’t care whether is a black one, white one or yellow one. I don’t really clamour for an homebased coach, we have all tested them in time past, and we are still testing them. They have all been giving us the same result, haven’t they? I suppose Eguavoan is a black coach? I suppose Amunike is not white? The country hungrily needs to reach out for a tactically sound mind in and outside the continent. There, we can get an away goal.

Many reasons had been adduced for the unceremonious exit of the Super Eagles from qualifying from the World Cup, including poor preparation for the tournament, lack of leadership and underrating of the Ghanaian side. While the Nigerian team is averagely good and talented, there is need for further grooming and nurturing in all departments of the game. You’ll agree with me that the team needs more training sessions and tactical drillings. We need a more cohesive and technically sound team. Furthermore, I know a lot of people clamour for the invitation of the home based players. Yes, there are a lot of untapped talents in there. A lot in Remo Stars, Rivers United, Enyimba, shooting stars and others. Howbeit, as we clamour for these home based talent, I’ll also clamour for the invitation of foreign based players who are hungry to play for the Nigerian identity. These players are better technically, built to read games and get results.Players who will give us options and make the team go competitive, not when one player feels he has already had a place in the team.
The NFF and the ministry of sport, which is the administrative body is suffering. Rampant corruption, maladministration and lack of accountability have negatively impacted on the development of football in Nigeria. Football has turned into a billionaire dollar industry across the world but Nigeria remains at the periphery of this lucrative system. It is believed that many factors such as the predatory and globalised nature of major European leagues, Nigeria’s problem stem from systematic and institutionalised problems with its football administration structures. Corruption is synonymous with Nigerian football. The tale of the game on the country is full of controversy and complex problems involving missing funds, election rigging, presidents who serve for decades, under paid players and poor infrastructure. Can we get a change from this?

True, Nigeria will always lack consistency at competitios if we continue to lack football needs like sound management, serious youth development for boys and girls, better coaches’ training, and infrastructural improvements at the grassroots. Conclusively, for Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo, I’m not expecting any of them at the 2026 world cup. While others is a largely young group, many of the core individuals ought to be in their prime years when the 2026 World Cup comes around, theoretically increasing Nigeria’s prospects of participating in the next four years.

With the expanded tournament to be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States comprising 48 nations, with nine slots going to Africa, as opposed to five it will take a huge screw up for Nigeria to miss out on the 2026 edition. Nevertheless, the Partey’s party continues, and the Nigeria’s unremitting lamentations flourishes.

AUTHOR:Ogungbile Emmanuel Oludotun

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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