As the Federal Government gingers the team and butters them up for the mammoth tasks awaiting them in Cameroon, are we fans right to consider the Super Eagles genuine title contenders for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations?
Now we have about 86% of the players in camp, it is full steam ahead. For me, I am expecting no less than 5 meaningful and memorable matches from the Super Eagles in this tournament. Anything beyond that is Dreamland.
The other teams in the tournament are no pushovers. When you have an outfit like Guinea having a player from Liverpool with Senegal boasting of mongul Mane and Morocco parading a classy collection of players, then you know the Super Eagles have their work cut out to lift the trophy.
What Are The Odds? If we qualify as second from our group, we face the huge task of overcoming Algeria or Ivory Coast in the second round. With “Belmadi’s Boy” no longer in the helm, will Eguavoen become “Belmadi’s Bully” if we were to meet Algeria? As if that wasn’t worse enough, we will then potentially have Morocco in wait in the quarter final if Eguavoen manages to banish the ghost of Belmadi to the afterlife in the second round. All tantalising stuff. However, if we manage to win our group, then a potentially favourable path awaits us in the knock out phases. We have any of Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe or Gambia in the second round and then have any of Ghana or Cameroon in the quarter final (what a match that would be eh?) Men I can’t wait for hostilities to erupt next week! It promises to be a bumpy yet fascinating ride with the Super Eagles. Rather counterintuitively, the upheavals and chaos that engulfed the Super Eagles preparations for this tournament has somewhat made it a far more intriguing and interesting competition for me to look forward to. THE ANTICIPATION IS KILLING ME!!! On an international radio programme I monitored yesterday, foreign observers, whilst acknowledging the wealth of promising players at our disposal, have already written off the Super Eagles as genuine title contenders. This is based on a number of factors including: sacking a coach so close to the tournament, potential distraction to the interim coaching crew caused by having the new foreign coach “observe” and perhaps interfere with the team, the absence of stalwarts like Osihmen and Balogun, and Nigeria’s overall shoddy management
I LOVE IT! The Super Eagles have, in the past, paid such prognosis the ultimate compliment by simply brushing it aside to produce some truly fascinating, scintillating and memorable moments in tournaments. It doesn’t mean we have gone on to particularly win those tournament – we didn’t win the world cup in France ’98. It only means we went on to produce some truly spectacular moments that left its mark in the sands of time – the shock 3:2 capitulation of Spain in France ’98 has gone down the football folklore as one of Africa’s finest hour in world cup history (despite Nigeria’s negative pre-tournament predictions). Where is Ejuke? Where is Umar? Where is Ndidi? Where is Aribo? And where is Okoye? It is time to get up and be counted. It is time to take your place in the annals of Afcon cultural history. If you don’t bring home the cup, then please give us some truly memorable moments that will live very long and stand the test of time. Moments that will make us revisit highlights of some matches over and over again with easily quotable sequences of action. Come on Super Eagles! Come on Super Eagles! Copyright Notice © : unauthorised use of this material is strictly prohibited