THE HEROES OF THE 2018 SUPER EAGLES' WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION
t's a great feeling to be once again among the elite class of soccer nations! A class certainly not reserved for all soccer nations. The World cup is the epitome of soccer competitions on this planet! It's a competition where the greatest stars of soccer are crowned. No player can really call himself the best player, if that player hasn't won the world cup! It's the pinnacle of soccer success. It's against this back drop that the frustrations of the 'great' Lionel Messi can be understood, when he lost yet again another final match, with the Argentinan national team: the Latin American soccer championship final, last year. He was so frustrated he announced his retirement from international soccer. One understood and still understands his frustrations, he realises that much as he is generally seen as the best player on the planet, presently, soccer history will not judge him as the very best of his generation, if he cannot crown his international career with a FIFA senior world cup soccer success. He would certainly not be placed on the same pedestal, as soccer greats like: Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, alias "Pele," Franz Bekenbauer, alias the "Keiser," Dino Zoff, the great Maradona, Geoff Hurst, Lothar Matheus, Didi, "Garincha", Rivelinho, Daniel Passarella, Mario Kempes, Daniel Bertoni, Romario, Jurgen Klinsmann, Rudi Voller and the other soccer greats, who were crowned soccer kings of the planet. Lionel Messi, as a matter of fact, has thus far, won nothing with Argentina, and his time as a soccer player, is fast running out!
Back to our dearly beloved Super Eagles, the 2018 world cup qualification, feels really good, more especially coming against the back drop of the failed qualification for successive Nations' Cup competitions in: 2015 and 2017; and a very lowly world soccer rating of number 66; the lowest ever rating for Nigeria, in soccer! Therefore, the come back to the greatest soccer tournament, is very much welcome. It signifies a great come back situation for the Super Eagles; a "Remontada", in the Spanish language, that means: A come- back- situation!
Who made this sweet qualification possible ? Mee thinks the following factors were responsible :
THE ALMIGHTY GOD:
A friend of mine told me to keep God away from soccer affairs, that, in his words, "it's but a game." Yours sincerely disagress, much as soccer is a game, it's competitive, and prizes are won and lost! Nations invest millions of dollars to do well in soccer. Thus, if one is going for a competitive event, it's certainly not abnormal, to seek favour from heaven; divine intervention! The Brazilians understand this line of thinking, and, consequently, offer masses before their country plays any competitive match!
During the course of the 2018 World cup qualification campaign, the Super Eagles, had many close sheaves, which could have sunk their qualification 'ship', but for good dose of good luck. God gives luck to his children. A great debt of gratitude thus to God Almighty, for making Nigeria's world cup qualification bid, a huge success!
THE GOOD PEOPLE OF NIGERIA:
Nigerians have not ceased to impress me, with their followership and support of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Through their thoughts, prayers and constructive criticisms, they have shown uncanny solidarity with this great team, that represents this great country of ours: Nigeria!
The Super Eagles, have over the years, metamorphosed, to be more than just another national soccer team; it has become the" Nigerian peoples' movement "! And symbolises, a great, prosperous and united Nigeria, notwithstanding our present travails as a nation!
A million thanks to the great people of Nigeria!
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
The Federal government deserves praise for providing the financial wherewithal. Thanks to the Federal government!
The NFF, has certainly played a great part in this latest success! Mention must be made of the leadership shown by Mr. Amaju Pinnick, the NFF chairman. He against all odds, pushed for, and got a foreign technical adviser, for Nigeria. Who certainly made a lot of difference, in this successful qualification campaign of the Super Eagles. The entire NFF board, worked hard, to ensure a successful world cup qualification campaign, a great thanks to them!
THE TECHNICAL CREW:
The technical crew under leadership of Coach Gernot Rohr, certainly, deserve recognition and praise, for a job well done! They were burdened with the most stressful aspect of the job, by not only plotting the strategies needed for victory, but by also actualising these strategies during the training sessions and on the field of play, during matches. Particularly the role of Coach Gernot Rohr, deserves special mention. Apart from believing in the Super Eagles' qualification, for Russia '2018, even before the first ball of the qualification campaign, was kicked, ( that was one of the conditions contained in his contract), he believed the Super Eagles would get to the later stages of the 2018 World cup competition! In order words, he believed and still believes in the ability of the Super Eagles' players! Yours sincerely, unrepentantly, shares in this optimism!
Apart from his optimism and belief in the Super Eagles'players' ability, he is also a proven tactician of renown! One of my readers, after reading my article titled: "A Super Eagles' renaissance?", accused me of having what he termed: "colo-mentality." He claimed yours sincerely didn't give enough credit and recognition, to the indigenous coaches. Yours sincerely certainly disagrees; honour must be given to whom it's due, without allowing sentiments to play a role in our thinking.
Yours sincerely, has thus far, closely followed his technical/tactical manoeuvring of the Super Eagles' matches; and with my experience over the years in soccer analysis, yours sincerely,can vouch that he is a sound coach! Nigerians can be rest assured that the Super Eagles are in good technical hands, under his leadership.
A big thanks to the Coach Gernot Rohr-led technical crew.
THE SUPER EAGLES PLAYERS:
They did the dirty job, on the field of play! They took the knocks, hard tackles, bruises, brushes, shoves and all kinds of unpleasant situations, during the course of the matches. However notwithstanding these sometimes unpleasant situations on the field of play, they were resolved to give Nigeria victory, in the World cup qualification campaign, and victory they did give to Nigeria!
All thirty-seven of them, that took part in the qualification campaign, deserve praise and all our encomiums. They are our great heroes!" Umu oma anyi!" God bless them and all of us! Amen!
In conclusion, Nigerians and all Super Eagles' lovers, should savour this great and hard-won /hard-earned success, certainly a major milestone, in Nigeria's soccer development; victory that puts Nigeria's soccer back to where it should be; and with the potential to even do better in Russia '2018. Yours sincerely urges all Super Eagles' lovers, to continue to wish the team well, and encourage them, by our collective prayers, thoughts, well wishes and of course constructive criticisms. And also be on the look out for the next stage of their development, in the march to Russia '2018!