The Nigeria Football Federation are considering transporting the Super Eagles by boat to Benin for the upcoming 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier last this month, according to president Amaju Pinnick.
The Super Eagles will lock horns against the Squirrels of Benin Republic in a crucial Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday March 27.
When the news broke that the NFF are considered transporting the team to Benin Republic by boat, it generated talking points among Super Eagles stakeholders on cyberspace.
For me, unfortunately the boat matter is causing nothing but distraction. Distraction is the last thing the Super Eagles players and the coaching crew headed by Gernot Rohr need at the moment.
Unconfirmed feelers from Benin Republic suggest that the Squirrels are fully focused on this encounter. They also want that accolade of “qualifying for the tournament with a game to spare”. To achieve that is one thing; to achieve it at the expense of the illustrious Super Eagles of Nigeria is quite another.
Now, travelling by “sea” might not altogether be a as weird as it sounds. But, suggesting it at such a time ahead of such a crucial encounter will generate “controversy”. Controversy then potentially distracts and this can lead to an undesirable outcome.
Whatever the “merits” of travelling by sea might engender, this is just the most inappropriate time to put forward such a suggestion.
Already, playing the match against Lesotho in Lagos has generated controversy, now going to Benin Republic by boat (or I would rather say by “sea” to add an air of respectability to the rather head-scratching idea) is raising temperatures further.
If we fans are concerned with these proposals, how do you think Gernot Rohr and his boys would be feeling?
Can’t this NFF develop proposals and put forward ideas that will not court controversy?
In Europe, international players have been known to travel for international assignments via other modes of transport like trains.
However, train travel in Europe for example is fully developed with a track record of safety, reliability and mass-use.
I don’t think ferry travel between Nigeria and Benin Republic holds such profile.
Maybe it does, if so I stand corrected. But I don’t think this is the right time for the NFF to explore such a possibility.
I said it before: qualification for the 2021 Afcon is not in the bag. Contrary to what the Press often say, we need more than 1 point to secure qualification if Sierra Leone manage to somehow amass 6 points from their remaining matches.
This is not the time for the NFF to introduce novel travelling concepts.
This is the time for them to listen to Gernot Rohr and provide him with everything he says he would need to secure all 3 points away to Benin Republic.
NFF’s approach to recent Super Eagles outings is not helping matters at all.
It is easy to blame Gernot Rohr (I too have criticized him on several occasions) but is the NFF providing a conducive atmosphere for him to get the job done?
However, the President of the NFF Amaju Pinnick has been quoted towards the end of the week that they are yet to decide the team's mode of traveling to Benin Republic for the match.
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