|Saturday, May 18, 2019|
FORWADED BY: CYRIL C. NWOKEJI
he book "Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa", is the first of it's kind with regards Super Eagles' history and it's impact on Nigerians- the Super Eagles' number one supporters !
When my good friend told me about the completion of this project, I wasn't surprised, because in all nearly thirty years I have known him, I have always known that he has that uncanny love for the game of soccer; particularly with regards his country's national soccer side: the Super Eagles of Nigeria. In all soccer discussions I have had with him over the years, he has consistently expressed his interest in the Super Eagles of Nigeria, and, particularly, how he would love to see the team achieve it's true potentials - to be world beaters ! He believes this is achievable considering the huge abundance of talent in Nigeria. But as he always says, this objective may remain a mirage as long as a consistently decent soccer administration is not in place !
It worries him that the failure to realise this tall ambition, would be tantamount to a crime against nature; considering the huge endowments of Nigeria in this regard: abundance and motivated talent, favourable weather conditions, a motivated followership that dearly loves the game of soccer !
In this book, the author not only tells the story of how the Super Eagles have over the years transformed it's self from being just another national soccer side to the "Nigerian peoples' movement", but also gives his panacea for how Nigeria's huge potentials in soccer can be realised, based on his experience of over forty years of having closely observed the Super Eagles and soccer generally, in Nigeria !
The author chronicles the roles of the various coaches that have coached the Super Eagles of Nigeria, since 1976. He highlights their successes and failures and gives a general impression of their impact on the Super Eagles and by implication on soccer generally in Nigeria.
The author also highlights the impact of a legendary soccer commentator : the late Ernest Okonkwo, of blessed memory, on Nigerian soccer. How through his velvet voice on the then Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, he helped reshape not only the soccer 'destiny' of some Nigerian players, but helped 'revolutionise' soccer commentary, and soccer in Nigeria generally !
The author highlights the impact of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, on Nigerian soccer. How some NFF boards have helped the development of the game in Nigeria, while others have been less than successful. He decries the present scenario, where the NFF depends on the Federal government for the necessary financial support. He wishes for an NFF that is financially independent of government, through making maximal use of the opportunities available it, to generate sufficient funds to run it's affairs. In this regard, he suggests the maximal commercialisation of the game of soccer, by the NFF. He describes the soccer industry in Nigeria, as a "sleeping giant" that needs to be woken up, to help propel soccer development not only in Nigeria, but in Africa as a whole !
The author also highlights the impact of the Federal government on soccer, particularly, in the affairs of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. How the affairs of the Super Eagles, over the years, have become "unofficial state policy" to successive Federal governments. How each Nigerian President realises that being close to the affairs of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, is one sure way of getting the support of the masses!
The author also highlights the impact of the good people of Nigeria, the number 1 Super Eagles' supporters. How they have helped impact this team in so many ways: by being present during their home and away matches, by being prayerfully close to the team, as well as giving the necessary moral and financial support!
The author recounts the experience of the team, in 1977, during the 1978 Nations' cup qualifier, first leg match against hosts Senegal, in the "Demba Diop " stadium in Dakar. He recounts how the Senegalese, desperate to eliminate Nigeria from the 1978 edition of the Nations' cup competition, went as far as using "extra natural" means to defeat and eliminate the Super Eagles of Nigeria. They used their brand of "native medicine" or "juju" called "girigiri" to try to influence the result of the match! They apparently, partially, succeeded as they won the first leg match, 3-1. But in the return leg in Lagos, Nigeria, through sheer dint of hard work and most importantly through calling in of God's intervention, through the collective prayers of Nigerians, the Super Eagles reversed the tide of events in their favour and finally eliminated the Senegalese! God is stronger than the devil!!!!!!!
It's a book that thrills, entertains, informs and relaxes the reader. A book to be picked up, preferably, after a hard day's work.
Like as stated earlier on, yours sincerely wasn't surprised, my good friend, Cyril Nwokeji, carried out this project, that cost five years of painstaking research work ! I especially recommend it to anybody who is interested in Nigerian soccer; particularly in the Super Eagles of Nigeria. It's a brilliant piece of literary work that chronicles Nigerian soccer since 1976 ! And will certainly serve as reference point for Nigerian soccer, for now and even in the future! The book certainly makes for interesting reading !