Nigeria has failed to reach the African Nations Cup Competition that is slated for Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012.
P W D L GF GA Pts
Guinea* 6 4 2 0 13 5 14
Nigeria 6 3 2 1 12 5 11
Ethiopia 6 2 1 3 8 13 6
Madagascar 6 0 1 5 4 14 1
*Guinea Qualified Table source:BBC
There is no need for over reaction to this expected outcome. The deed was done in Ethiopia when Nigeria drew 2-2 with the Ethiopians. Guineans thrashed Ethiopians 1-4.
Out of necessity Nigerians Madagascar at home 0-2 but it was too late. Guinea sealed her place at the Nations Cup when it thrashed Nigeria 1-0 at home in October 2010.
Football is a team work and this has been over flogged in debates. But the final phase of the teamwork is reflected on the pitch over a period of 90 minutes.
The teamwork is not about the footballers only. It is about the structure and the operations of each country’s football federation.
When something as serious as Nigeria missing a Nation’s cup goes wrong, a lot of issues are brought into questioning or focus.
What is the current level or standard of football in Nigeria?
What are the statutory functions of the Football Association?
What has the Football Association done in the last 1, 2, 5, 10 or 20 years to promote the development of football in Nigeria?
How do we make selections for the national team? Do we have a neutral selection process or are we still in the primitive era of using influence, position and bribe to secure player’s position in the national team?
How old are our players in the age-group competitions? How can we optimize the potentials of our players to the best result possible?
Going back to the Football Association, who are the people running the association? Do they know what football is or are they in the association because they stupidly belong to one geographical region in Nigeria?
Have we ever in the history of Nigeria allowed technical know-how and professionalism guide our judgments and decisions in the running of our sports in general?
The problem as it turned out to be is not peculiar to football. Nigerian Sports if practically dead!
We are hardly seen in world championships-field and track, athletics and so on-yet we still foolishly adhered to that rotten title-Giant of Africa.
It is a sad situation. Nigerians should cry for Nigeria not just because the glory of Sports is gone-but also because the glory of the country belongs to the past.
All these national ailments can be traced back to our collective mentalities-how we do things and how we let bad things pass for good.
Nigeria’s problem has become not just an ordinary labyrinth; it is also a convoluted one.
It is hard to make amends because so far no ruler or person in authority has been bold enough to start the cleansing process while the guilty are in their current positions. Nigerian government is in love with witch-hunting and shadow chasing.
But maybe someday, someone would realize that in everything that we do we need a fresh start.
In the sport Ministry maybe we can start by seeking the services of professionals to run to our football associations. Maybe we now need a blue print to help us develop football in Nigeria. When I was young we had reasons to pursue excellence in both our academic and sports activities.
There were local and regional competitions to look forward to, both in sports and academics. These things were good for our bodies, minds and souls.
[03-05/09/10: Nigeria 2-0 Madagascar
03-05/09/10: Ethiopia 1-4 Guinea
08-10/10/10: Madagascar 0-1 Ethiopia
08-10/10/10: Guinea 1-0 Nigeria
25-27/03/11: Nigeria 4-0 Ethiopia
25-27/03/11: Madagascar 1-1 Guinea
03-06/06/11: Ethiopia 2-2 Nigeria
03-06/06/11: Guinea 4-1 Madagascar
02-04/09/11: Madagascar 0-2 Nigeria
02-04/09/11: Guinea 1-0 Ethiopia
07-09/10/11: Ethiopia 4-2 Madagascar
07-09/10/11: Nigeria 2-2 Guinea] Source: BBC African Football
Nigerian youth today don’t realize what they have missed and how their childhood and future have been stolen from them. It is almost a crime against humanity that children and youth are deprived of their fundamental human rights.
Rather than cry over spilled milk Nigerians should take a look inward and ask themselves-what went wrong? What went wrong was not the game in Abuja which ended 2-2. Several things have gone wrong before that game that was played under tension and pressure.
If we find out those things that are/went wrong and how long we have coped pretentiously with those anomalies, then we are probably on a good start to finding the solutions. Hopefully someday we will also stop repeating our mistakes.
Congratulations to the Guinean National Team for this great achievement. The 10m inhabitants must be jubilating for their triumph over a country of 150m people.
Being a giant in whatever field at all is a measure of achievements and golden strides. For Guinea this is a gigantic achievement. Let those countries living on past glories wake up for their slumbers. The world is moving forward, never backwards.
In Gabon and Eq. Guuinea come 2012, African giants in football will be clashing. Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Egypt have a lot to learn from the history that will be made in 2012.