It was highly comforting to see Nigeria’s senior football team win the prestigious African Cup of Nations 2013. What a great way to begin the year and to see Nigerians with a reason to smile-together as one after a long time. The victory is a huge achievement for Nigeria after what seems to be a disaster-soaked year 2012 with the many horrible incidents ranging from suicide attacks, kidnapping, plane crashes, road accidents, flood, hunger, riots, betrayals, deaths and many more.
The win was a soothing relieve, the smile and comments from every Nigerian showed how starved Nigerians are of good news and a much needed better-life. The expression of joy and wild jubilation over the win by Nigerians at home and all over the world is an indication of the scarcity of events that makes Nigerians smile.
Coach Stephen Keshi has proved his critiques wrong, many do not believe in his abilities when Afcon tournament started, his was a case of another sad story turned good from Nigeria. Most of the players in the team were little known, a few still playing in the local league, a very rear occurrence in the super eagle’s team of old, mostly made up of foreign based players. Perhaps one of the biggest discovery is Sunday Mba, currently playing for Warri Wolves, a local team in Nigeria, he scored the magical trophy-winning goal.
It is important for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to build on this success and integrate a long time plan in order to achieve more for the future. With a little more efforts, team spirit and positive attitude, the Super Eagles can be a team hard to beat by any team of the world.
Peter Odemwingie is a prolific footballer for Nigeria, currently plying his trade for West Bromwich Albion, a football Premier League club in Great Britain. Odemwingie’s first mistake was his overreaction and twitter banter to his exclusion from Nigeria’s team list to the 2013 Afcon in South Africa, he showed a high level of immaturity and arrogance to the team coach and other football decision makers, as much as the whole world can see his frustrations, it is without a high level of condemnation from his fans on how he handled the situation. Apart from that, he is not the only top flight player excluded from the list, the likes of Oba Martins and Taiye Taiwo were excluded as well and none of them took to twitter. Odemwingie has since shown remorse for his immature actions.
The second mistake by Odemwingie is driving down to QPR in a bid to force through a deadline-day transfer. This is the most ridiculous thing any player can do and Odemwingie has since apologised for this silly mistake. However, this would not go well in the minds of West Bromwich supporters who have always adored him and his expertise in the round leather game. I am very worried for Odemwingie, as he has laid a precedence that will take a while to erase from the mind of West Bromwich supporters and the English press. Get in the bad book in Britain and you are sure of a frustrating experience in the league. Mario Balotelli’s experience in the UK was a typical example, he made a couple of incoherent decisions and he had a big share of bad press. In England you need to behave yourself and play to the rule, else you have yourself to blame. Though Odemwingie has since apologised for his silly mistake and West Bromwich FC has since announced that they have disciplined him internally as necessary without given any specifics. However, Odemwingie needs to make up his mind and not take to heart if made a laughing stock in England.
President Jonathan was so much interested in the Super Eagles team’s victory that he called the team to give them his words of inspiration. This is a good thing to do, however it shows how much Nigerian’s need something to smile about. Nigerians have had to survive the torment of a very ash and unfriendly economy for decades. All that seems to filter out and about the country are series of bad reports ranging from corruption in high places to poverty, kidnapping, murder and many more. The win by the Super Eagles team is a way to show to the international world that Nigeria can do better and all thanks to the current Super Eagles team and management who have achieved this for the nation.
It is therefore important for President Jonathan and his crew to build on this remarkable achievement by the Super Eagles after decades of under achievements to implement long time structure for sports and other sectors of the economy. Nigerians need more reasons to smile. The government of the country needs to build on this new trend pioneered by the immaculate Super Eagles and give Nigerians more reasons to smile in terms of Economic recovery and empowerment. It is not enough for the president to be happy about the Super Eagles great achievement, he also needs to take a deeper reflection and make his tenure that of historical accomplishment in every sector so as to bring a lasting smile to every Nigerian. President Jonathan still has the time to accomplish and build a legacy.
We want a nation that works; because we know that together we can achieve more victories. Bravo to Coach Keshi and all his crew who have done the country proud this time. We look forward to more trophies; world Cup here we come.
Long live Super Eagles!
Long Live Nigeria!
Get a copy of Abiola Olaifa’s new book titled; Don’t Rock My Boat: Life’s Little Secrets.
To Purchase, visit: www.abiolaolaifa.com