Category Archives: FIFA
The Brave Warriors of Namibia await the Super Eagles of Nigeria in tonight’s FIFA Brazil 2014 World Cup preliminary qualifier. Having got the three points at stake in Kenya just a week ago, the Africa champions are the favourites in this encounter.
Nigeria’s Super Eagle sits atop group F with eight points from four matches and a win today may just be enough to put them through to the next and final round of qualifier for the show piece in Brazil. Beyond the points at stake lies the need to get this job done on time. And the only way to ensure this is not to be complacent and be more focused even more than the past.
As the Super Eagles get ready to battle the Harambee Stars of Kenya tomorrow in Nairobi, the task to be performed is as delicate as porcelain. Taking a second look at the first leg of the encounter in Calabar back in March when it took a last gasp equalizer to rescue a point for the Super Eagles, only a novice would not be apprehensive about the likely outcome of this match.
While Nigeria is on the upward climb and currently is the King of African football, the truth is that nothing will motivate the Kenyans more than beating us tomorrow. Apart from the potential FIFA World Cup ticket at stake, they have an axe to grind with us. From newspapers reports, they didn’t like the reception accorded them the last time they were in Nigeria.
The exploits of the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the last Africa Nations Cup are still fresh in our memories. Like many outstanding teams of the past, they must now focus their attention on the new challenge ahead of them. Getting soaked in or carried away by past successes had been the albatross of potential greatness in some of our past teams.
I could recall the euphoria that followed our triumph at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the United States of America after the ‘Dream Team’ won the gold medal of the men’s football event. It was as if Nigeria had won the FIFA World Cup. Being the first African country to achieve that feat didn’t help matters as we were celebrated by all and sundry.
Only very few people expected the Super Eagles to get to the finals of the Nations Cup. A lot of the new ‘supporters’ had silently wished that the team crash out of the tournament so that the need for a world class ‘white’ technical adviser (we seem to be the only country still using that term for our senior team managers) could be sold to the powers that be in Abuja.
Somehow and in an unbelievable manner, Stephen Keshi and his team are in the finals and would make the day of millions of Nigerians tomorrow if they could finish the job they started three weeks ago by defeating the formidable Burkinabes. The achievement of the current Super Eagles when compared to the past teams is quite encouraging. The last time Nigeria had so many debutants at a major tournament was in the Nations Cup hosted by Algeria in 1990.
I have written in the past about Lionel Messi. Like any other football fan, analyst or pundit, I am short of words to adequately describe this ‘littlel genius that God bestowed on us in the football community.
Blessed with unbelievable close control, Messi has the ability to dribble his way out of any midfield. He has mesmerized the best holding midfielders in the world and left many a defender grasping at thin air in the wake of his blistering run at goals all over Europe. His vision in creating something out of nothing can only be matched by another great, Diego Amando Maradona.