What a difference three days make.
As I sat watching the second half of the Super Eagles clash with Lesotho, I couldn’t help laughing scornfully when my colleague on co-commentary, Babajide Guerrero remarked, “A lot of people are already tipping Nigeria to win the next AFCON.”
Actually, I almost choked on the water I was drinking at the time.
Really? I shouted to no one in particular.
Was it just pure patriotism or did he actually mean what he was saying based on the same game I was watching?
So, I decided to take a poll on my Twitter feed to feel the pulse.
And for the first few minutes, the result was never in doubt. Guerrero was indeed correct that many Nigerians were already seeing champions in Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles.
I tuned to Nigeria Info’s coverage of the game and was met with the same rude shock: the majority of the callers had the same belief.
It made me think back to a few days earlier.
On Saturday evening, despite a late Paul Onuachu winner in Port Novo, many were calling for the sack of the manager.
Others simply concluded based on the away performance that the Super Eagles did not have what it take to displace champions, Algeria, or favorites, Senegal.
Fast forward three days and a 3-0 margin against – no disrespect to Lesotho – one of the lowly ranked teams in the world and we have suddenly become world beaters?!
My poll wasn’t even close: 61% actually voted Super Eagles as the next African Champions; 25% did not agree while 14% voted the team to reach the semis and win a third-place match.
So, what changed?
Paul Onuachu’s two goals in two games or Victor Osimhen’s well-taken goal in Lagos?
Oghenekaro Etabo’s energetic display or Wilfred Ndidi’s elegance?
Or was it Samuel Chuwkueze’s mostly aimless runs or Maduka Okoye’s lack of assurance in goal?
Whatever it is, I do not think our present team has what it takes to win our 4th African crown.
But then again, neither did I think the 2013 team would and I was glad to be proven wrong. And, I’d gladly love for that to happen again!
Till then, I will stick to my belief that fans are fickle. But Nigerians fans take it a notch higher.
Much Ado about Water Transportation
I watched as the debate raged over the Super Eagles’ mode of transportation to the Benin Republic last weekend for the game.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick defended the decision insisting it was a good opportunity for the team to showcase other alternative means of transportation that Lagos has to offer.
Also, as my colleague, @PoojaMedia reported, some members of the Ilashe community benefited as they received 2 million naira in cash from some Super Eagles players.
But what irks me so much about us as Nigerians is our blatant hypocrisy.
The tendency to look away and not speak truth to power when we are beneficiaries is cancer that will continue to impoverish us.
NFF & its hypocrisy
It is no secret that the Badagry Expressway, the route that leads to the Benin Republic is in total shambles.
There was absolutely no way the Super Eagles would have embarked on a road journey through the hell that is the Mile 2 axis, the Abule Ado part of the road, or worse still, the Agbara-Badagry portion of the road.
My family house is in Badagry.
My mum lives there.
I’ve been back in Lagos since 2019 but I have never visited her. The few times I have seen my mum in just over two years are occasions she drives to the island.
The reason isn’t far-fetched: I cannot go through the stress that is the Badagry Expressway.
And neither could the Super Eagles.
I understand the NFF hierarchy can’t be seen rubbishing their benefactor in public.
What I will never understand is you and I – the regular folks on Twitter – going on and on about showcasing another mode of transportation.
It was quite nauseating, and that’s me being nice.