It was a beautiful gathering of the lovers of the round leather game at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state when the future Super Eagles team tackled Atletico Madrid of Spain, the Europa Champions few days ago.
Despite the Super Eagles losing the thrilling encounter 3-2 on the night, there was no doubt that the future is indeed bright for the national team of Nigeria.
To many football fans , it was a good game , but to the Nigeria Football Federation NFF under the leadership of Amaju Melvin Pinnick, it was planning ahead for the football event at the 2020 Olympics games in Tokyo, Japan as qualifying games for the sporting showpiece will take off later in the year among African teams.
The outcome of the game indicated that it was a work in progress for Salisu Yusuf, the coach who was saddled with the responsibility of assembling the team.
Yusuf is also the Chief coach of the Under 23 Olympics Eagles.
The buzz in the air is all about the World Cup in Russia and considering the fact that none of the players that featured against Atletico Madrid are on the Super Eagles provisional list to the World Cup and they performed very well simply points to the fact Nigeria is blessed with players that have natural DNA of football flowing in their veins and blood, what is needed is for football administrators to create the enabling environment for these players to be at their optimal best for the country.
The programme of activities lined up for the Super Eagles in preparation for the World Cup gives a ray of light that the journey in Russia will be filled with fruitful adventures on the pitch of play for Nigeria, while some football pundits that have analysed good outing for the Super Eagles may not be wrong when the hostilities begin in group D on June 16.
The Super Eagles will fly out against Croatia in Kaliningrad.
It is important to stress here that the NFF has lined up three crucial friendly games for the Super Eagles beginning with the game against Congo Democratic Republic in Port Harcourt, Monday next week.
The team will also test their might against England on June 2 in London in a game that promises to be explosive and very thrilling.
The last friendly game for the Super Eagles before the World Cup is against the Czech Republic on June 6 in Austria.
Millions of football loving Nigerians are very optimistic that these friendly games that the NFF have packaged for the Super Eagles will be enough to properly condition the team to excel in Russia and qualify from the group to the second round.
It is also generally accepted by these passionate football lovers in Nigeria that it will not be easy for the Super Eagles at the World Cup, but with hard work, sincerity of purpose, strength of character and dynamic synergy between the NFF, the technical crew and the players, Nigeria can scale the hurdles of the first round.
Money has always been a big distraction and national embarrassment for Nigeria at the World Cup.
Crisis over money caused tempers to be very high and emotions running riot in the Super Eagles camp on the eve of the crucial second round game against Denmark at France 98′ and it resulted in 4-1 demolition of the Eagles as they crashed out of the tournament.
The same ugly scenario repeated itself four years ago at the World Cup in Brazil before the Super Eagles lost 2-0 to Les Blues of France.
The Super Eagles missed a training session in protest over bonuses and allowances and share of the income from FIFA, forcing the Federal Government to dispatch the then Sports Minister, Dr. Tammy Danagogo to Brazil with about $4 millions in cash to settle the rift in the camp.
Interestingly in November last year in Krasnodar, Russia when Nigeria was about to play Argentina in an international friendly game, the present NFF board led by Amaju Pinnick in its wisdom and in the spirit of transparency and accountability entered a documented agreement with the technical crew and players of the Super Eagles on the sharing formula regarding the World Cup largesse from the FIFA.
It was the first time in the history of football administration in the country that the NFF and the Super Eagles will be having such a noble documented agreement and this really thrilled Mikel Obi, the captain of the team.
He commended Pinnick and his board on this foresight to avoid crisis in the management of the players ahead of the World Cup.
“We are very happy and excited with this development. This is the first time since I started playing for the senior national team that I would see everything regarding preparation and bonuses and allowances put down in black and white and a binding agreement executed,” Mikel Obi said.
“It is reassuring that we now have a Federation with a leadership so committed to make everything work. They arranged this meeting and allowed the players to contribute and then set out to sign the agreement,” he added.
Everything working out fine, it is very likely that the NFF will fulfil their part of the agreement to the Super Eagles in a matter of days before the World Cup starts in Russia as a top and reliable source in the NFF revealed in an exclusive chat with PM EXPRESS Correspondent.
” NFF is determined to ensure that the Super Eagles are paid what is due to them as agreed in Krasnador in Russia last year very soon and it may happen before the team even leaves Nigeria for final preparation for the World Cup,” the source said.
Gernot Rohr, the technical adviser of the team is having a free hand in tinkering the affairs of the Super Eagles.
The provisional 30-man list of the Super Eagles came out about two weeks ago without interference or rancour with the technical committee of the NFF led by Fresh Ahmed Yusuf.
The Franco-German was given a fresh two years contract by the federation few months ago unlike Clemens Westerhof, former technical adviser of the Super Eagles whose contract expired the day before the Super Eagles played and lost 2-1 to Italy at the USA ’94 World Cup.
There has not been any complaints whatsoever from the former coach of Niger and Gabon regarding his working relationship with the NFF and is therefore left for Rohr to build a solid team that will gladden the hearts of Nigerians with favourable results at the mundial.
The World Cup is also a great platform for the players to market themselves and tell the world how good they are wearing the national colours of Nigeria.
Everton FC of England would not have signed Daniel Amokachi in a lucrative deal were it not for his exploits wearing the Super Eagles jersey at the USA’ 94 World Cup.
Austin Okocha dazzled the world at France ’98 and he got an African transfer record deal of €17million to PSG of France after the football fiesta.
Yakubu Aiyegbeni was the hottest Nigerian striker going into the South Africa 2010 World Cup, but his terrible miss against Korea in a game that was a must – win for Nigeria at the group stage affected his career negatively.
He was never himself again in the national team and he gradually went into oblivion after the World Cup.
Many football fans and stakeholders believed that the needless red card that Sani Kaita got against Greece in the second group game contributed to the 2-1 loss to the former European champions.
Katia never got his groove back again in the Super Eagles after the ugly incident at Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Sometimes ago, Ahmed Musa was having difficulties at Leicester City of England.
He was a bench warmer to the dismay of football fans in Nigeria before he moved on loan back to CSKA Moscow. Nigerians did not forget the great class and skill the former Kano Pillars striker displayed at the 2014 Brazil World Cup where he scored two great goals against Argentina in a game that was adjudged as one of most entertaining games at the 2014 football showpiece.
The Super Eagles lost the game 3-2, but Musa won the hearts of football faithfuls and he still relevant in the Russian bound Super Eagles.
There is no perfect organisation in the world and despite the challenges of administering football in the country , the NFF has provided a conducive atmosphere needed in the Super Eagles to excel in Russia.
Therefore, the ball lies in the court of Rohr and his players not to disappoint the expectations of Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria brand of football all over the world, as there will be no excuse for failure from the Super Eagles in Russia.
Culled from pmexpressng.com