Retired Super Eagles striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni has come out once more to say he does not owe Nigerians any apology for missing a glorious chance against South Korea in Nigeria's last group match at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. It ranked as one of the worst miss at the World Cup held in Africa for the first time. With Nigeria losing 2:1 late into the second half, Yakubu guided his tame shot off target with the goalkeeper out of sight and goal at his mercy from three yards. The match ended 2:2 following Yakubu's converted penalty later on with Nigeria crashing out of the tournament following two earlier losses to Argentina and Greece. When pressed on his embarrassing miss, Yakubu said (on Nation TV): "I won’t apologise at all. Why should I? I’ve scored so many goals for Nigeria too. I have sacrificed a lot for the country. Did anyone apologise to me? It was not a deliberate miss. I seriously wanted to score, but it wasn’t to be," he concluded.
I can only speak for myself on this matter: as an ardent Super Eagles supporter, Yakubu Aiyegbeni does not and will never owe me an apology for his second half abominable miss against South Korea in the last group match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. For one, had he scored that goal, it still would not have been enough to guarantee Nigeria’s safe passage to the second round. With the match 2:1 to South Korea, Yakubu’s miss (if scored) would just have drawn the game level – Nigeria needed an outright win. Demanding an apology from Yakubu totally ignores the circumstances that led to the Super Eagles finding themselves in such a precarious position to start with. – How come Amodu Shuaibu was sacked by the incompetent NFF so dangerously close to the tournament (having met all targets set by them)? They need to apologise. – How come Sani Kaita got himself stupidly sent off in the penultimate game against Greece (with Nigeria poised to win)? – How come Vincent Enyeama positioned himself very poorly for the Park Chu-Young’s 2nd (and most damaging) goal for South Korea? (has he apologised?) – How come Rabiu Afolabi failed to dispense his duties competently on the lead up to Lee Jung-soo’s curtain raiser for South Korea off a recklessly conceived free kick? – Did anyone notice how Chinedu Obasi took selfishness to satanic proportions in that infamous game against South Korea? – What of Obafemi Martins’ wretchedly executed chip in the dying minutes of the same South Korean game? (that goal would have actually qualified Nigeria for the second round) How many of the actors that contributed to Super Eagles failed 2010 World Cup campaign have come out to apologise? So, for me, what made Yakubu’s miss stand out was just how difficult it was to actually miss such a glorious opportunity. In truth it was comical. But also, in truth, it was no more significant than all other factors that had combined to get us to such a precarious stage. If Yakubu has to apologise for that miss, then no less than 10 Super Eagles strikers owe me apologies for missed chances over the last 11 years. And, what is funny is that Yakubu actually made up for that miss by scoring a penalty in the same match that brought us to the position that his hair raising miss would have brought us.
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