Nigeria And The 2018 World Cup
By Adeola Aderounmu
I have just watched the first match of the 2018 world cup, Russia 2018 with the host country white-washing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 5-0. Some people were already questioning the qualification/eligibility of Saudi Arabia based on their poor performance.
It was a victory that the Russians needed to stamp their authority as the host of the competition. Afterall Korea went all the way to the semifinal when she hosted the competition albeit getting all the help in the world from the FIFA referees along the way.
Anyway l want to spend the little time l have now on the Super Eagles of Nigeria, their NIKE shirt maker and the friendlies they lost.
ONCE again Nigeria is one of the hopes of the continent of Africa. The good news is that Nigeria lost her 2 friendly matches in a run up to the world cup. A 1-2 lose to England was the first wake up call. It was good news because Nigerians now know that their hopes should not be beyond the abilities or the capabilities of the boys representing them at Russia 2018. If Nigeria crashes out in the group stages, there will be no serious hypertension.
In fact l wished the health authorities in Nigeria can sound a note of warning about the health implications of getting too emotional about this worldcup. I learnt my lessons far back in USA 1994 during my last year at the University of Lagos.
We were African champions and we were the 4th best team in the world. That team had the potentials to be the world champion. All is history now.
When the Super Eagles match out in this tournament, they will face Croatia, a very technical team, Iceland, a team that sent England home at Euro 2016 and Argentina, a familiar foe.
The Super Eagles are parading the youngest team at the tournament but the players are full of experience. Mikel Obi and Victor Moses will team up with Onazi and Iwobi to lead the team to glory (if they choose glory).
The boys should not be carried away by the colours or admiration of their jerseys. NIKE is smiling to the bank despite doing a very useless job on the provision of the national wears. NIKE is asking me for a feedback on the way my questions have been answered concerning the messy work they did with the national team jersey and its availability globally. This will be my feedback, a blog entry.
If you go to leading football stores/ websites around the world, you can buy the national team jerseys of the world best teams and national teams. But you cannot buy the original of that of Nigeria at the retail price before and after June 1 2018. In my opinion, this is a very useless development. If the world loves the super eagles jersey, it was the responsibility of NIKE to see to it that the world gets it.
But no, they can produce any amount they like and they can decide not to produce more when the stock that was released on June 1 ran out globally after 20 minutes.
What does NIKE care about the feelings of Nigeria? Absolutely nothing!
NIKE has no respect for Nigerians and the supporters of Nigeria football if that means that whe whole world support Nigeria.
Today l can still buy the national team jerseys of leading football clubs in the world, but not that of Nigeria that just even drop her position in FIFA’s ranking.
I know NIKE tried to explain it but it is not acceptable. The reasons fell flat.
You don’t prepare for rain by waiting for the rain to start. I learnt that before l was 8 years old.
Money they made, yes. They also opened the market for fake products from China to Ibadan. Good for those in that line of business. But the responsibility of making the products available wherever and whenever was damn bad. I will leave it like that though l have more to say about it.
For the games, Nigeria must watch out for the ICELANDERS. They are formidable and they will punish any team for the slightest mistake. That is their greatest strength. They lay low and allow you to make a mistake and that is it. Their second strength is in set-pieces. They don’t like to waste them.
So Nigeria cannot go to sleep for one minute playing a wise team like Iceland.
For Croatia and Argentina, Nigerians just need to hold up their heads and remember that they play week-in and week-out at the same levels with these players in different leagues in Europé. They are the same people and should not be given the kind of respect that will make the Nigerian team look inferior. Just do it! Isn’t that what NIKE wants whether we the supporters get the jersey or not?
I am going to sit back and watch as many matches as l can. I hope the referees don’t make me switch off my tv with some useless decisions. These happened in many games before and FIFA need to stop influencing results. The corruption in FIFA must not be brought to the field of play or to gambling companies.
Some of us just want to relax and see the beautiful game. A part of us is attached to our country’s team and the other part just want to be part of the greatest sport event on planet earth.