Why Nigeria was incoherent at World cup matches



After Nigeria drew her last match with South Korea 2-2 and crashed out of the on going World Cup in South Africa, I was inundated the queries as to why my prediction for a successful outing went bad. Some wanted
me to do post scrip to analyze properly what happened. Somehow I am a bit taken
aback by these expectations. Inwardly I was elated that my small efforts are
noticed. However it all goes to bring out our collective weaknesses as a country.
Mark you I have not chosen the word ‘Nation’. The word would be akin to a lie
if used in this context. Nevertheless,
if we can learn something from our exit; from this collective success in
pulling defeat out of the very jaw of victory in South Africa like almost
always in most matters, then we have something to cheer about for the future.


In my rather satirical report “Nigerian Youths Bond Together for World Cup Glory “I departed from analyses and therefore predictions to reporting what happening as Nigeria was
prepared for World Cup in South Africa. I had to submit myself in other to
fully convey the prevailing spirit and expectation of the youths. Deep inside
me I wished it could come true that for instance Nigeria prevailed over
Argentina in the first match which ended 0-1 in favor of Argentina in
Johannesburg. But I had already predicted or rather preferred somewhere else an
Argentine advance into final stages for obvious reasons of the Leonel Messi
phenomenon. More so since our own star
Mikel Obi was already out of the show.


As for what happened I think it should have been obvious to viewers but just in case anyone is in doubt here is it. Nigeria was not a team because Nigeria is not yet a Nation. The Nigerian tem assembled for the World
cup were selected for other reasons rather than for excellence. Each player was
selected for a reason that may not coincide with the country’s purpose if there
was any. We didn’t go to South Africa to win the World cup because we always
talked of a semi- final appearance as our highest goal. On the other hand Ghana
came with a vision of winning the cup. Other teams have the same aim and you
often see their fans holding and displaying a copy of the World Cup. You can
only achieve your wildest dram and nothing higher. It is a spiritual law. Most
of our players came to show off so they can get bigger clubs to hire their
services. The coaches may have cashed in on this to demand percentages of the
big moves that result from such exposures. The Football Association officials
could have been interested in the quota selection of players because they bear
the pressure from the political leadership since they were picked via same
system. The system is always only bent on making a statement by fielding quota
boys. You know it would be embarrassing
that no member of our religion is seen representing Nigeria in such a global
arena even when we claim to be majority.
So the player’s selection is a
lobby game just like voting in Nigeria, most times the players are already
known and list given to the coach to ratify if he wants his salary.


Somehow the last coach has this name and contractual terms that could have made anyone stay behind. He was ostensibly to coach Nigeria for 5 months going into the world cup month with salaries paid upfront. There was
no mention of his retaining his position after the World Cup at least to give
him something to hope for. Even the veteran captain Nwankwo Kanu was to retire
after the last game. Everything was predictable and as you saw them play as if
nothing was at stake because everything has been paid for, signed and
delivered. Everybody except the fans waited the final whistle ‘because their
wildest dreams had been achieved -being permitted to Yakubu’ Nigeria out of the
World cup-as one report put it. It was always to be a mutually agreed squander
of chances and resources.


Politicians were divided about what Nigeria should achieve in the tournament. Some were pissed off that the President wanted to launch his speculated run for office through a “good luck” victory in South Africa. So as
usual opposition arose within as some groups could have worked or prayed for
losses. How else can you explain those near misses and turn around delivered to
Nigeria on a platter of red cards and injuries?


Well my analyses will not follow superstition here. Nigeria is not a nation and has no organic purpose to build a cohesive team. The only thing that keeps the Nigerian team going is money and that is what tears them
apart at such times. It is the same way that Petroleum money bonds us together
in the fight for supremacy over who controls it. How Nigeria moves is similar
to what Yakubu did at the six yard box. Wasted chances, wasted talents, and
wasted hopes. You could see the team going round in circles instead of purposefully
attacking the goal awaiting until they
fall behind which then provides them a tonic
through the fear of possible loss of award money to bond together and
seek an equalizer or a win but always
too late in the day. Everything is just for show. The team has nothing to lose,
not even the fans outrage.


Some of us have been pointing out for long that the Nigerian constitution will not allow Nation building to endure. We shout and cry but often are seen as unpractical. Well the World cup has revealed the potential of
Nigeria for greatness but also the poverty of organization, leadership and
purposelessness of our joint efforts. The most painful is the waste of
resources, the inability to procure the best talents for National assignments
because of other intervening variables. Until Nigeria restructures out of
divisive policies towards nationhood made possible by uniform laws or value
system, nationhood will continue to elude her and the gory details will always
present themselves to the discerning on the football field especially during
World cup tournaments as the South African example shows.


Mr Nworisara aspired to be President of Nigeria in 1992.


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