Tribute to Super Eagles: When the Beak Breaks the Tusk by Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
The caption for this piece was borrowed from a Facebook friend, Joshua Oluwakayode Oyero’s status. Am sure that was the easiest way he could capture the anxiety that followed the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s “poaching” of the Ivorian’s Elephants. It was a supposedly impossibility made possible and Nigerians showed that against the incessant attacks on the team for its drawling movement, they could sing songs of praise if expectations were surpassed. It was a Sunday night made easy. From the respective viewing centers, Nigerians showed an uncompromising spirit of nationhood, support, believe, patriotism and dedication. We were able to subdue the hatred, anguish, suffering, and even governmental ineptitude to support the Super Eagles.
The patriotic zeal for victory, and the need to re-establish Nigeria’s name in the annals of the round leather game spurred the team to the end in their last match, after not participating in the last Nations cup and world cup finals respectively. The super eagles boys played, fought and won like a team. There was no ambitious self glory seeking, no quest to win man of the match or score highest number of goals but a collective one goal – win at all cost. Against the baggage of criticism that would have distracted feeble minds with low conviction like the hundreds we have at the helms of our governmental affairs today, the Eagles against all odds, have landed safely in the Semi-Finals of AFCON 2013.
Like most average Nigerians, we gave the Super Eagles little or no chances of getting to where they are today. George Aluo of Sun Newspaper sees in the Super Eagles, the prevailing attitude Nigerians exhibit. It is only when we are challenged that we go the extra miles to get things done. To me and many others, that quarter final display was a Superb 94mins. The greatest impression in the last decade by a team that has been written off after its sluggish start at the tournament.
Before proceeding, I would like to do a brief animalistic impression of the slogan the two Countries bear in respect of the title of this piece; Super Eagles of Nigeria and Elephats of Cote d’Ivoire – the two dominant word being Eagle and Elephant. Nobody would have given a hovering small eagle, which cares less when its offspring devour themselves for survival at birth, a chance over an elephant, a large and extremely intelligent animal with good sensitive memory. But what major commentators forget (including I) is that, an Eagle is a powerfully built bird of prey family, with a heavy head and large hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong muscular legs, powerful talons and an extremely sharp eyes 3.6 times the human acuity. Thus, the Ivorian defeat is more of the focus of swift eagles whose eyes are set on gold after close to two decades they last lifted the trophy in 1994.
The post match interviews by Coach Steven Keshi, did have a lot to say about his team, leadership skill, being in charge, taking responsibilities and never losing hope. It would edge me to making some comparism between Coach Stephen Keshi and President Goodluck Jonathan’s demeanours in front of the camera and international media. At every interview, Coach Keshi faces the media with the true state of situation, acceptance of teams under performance and a convincing determination to get appreciable result from the next match. Unlike what Mr. President portrays each time he faces same audience; the recent CNN interview is a clear case in point.
Coach Keshi doesn’t drawl but speaks with conviction and sounds motivational enough to be believed to be in charge. On the winning of the last match, he says, “I know the mentality of my players, their level of concentration, and I knew they could do it. My players were disciplined. Nobody gave us a chance, but we showed character. When I made the team, I knew we would have to fight. We started the game well and were tactically disciplined. It came with determination and mental toughness.”
Former Coach of Kano Pillars, Bosso said, “The Eagles showed tremendous improvement and against the Ivorians did everything perfect, so if they maintain same character and up it a bit I see them making it to the final as well as clinching the third title.” Let President Jonathan too motivate Nigerian citizen through people oriented action, not brick throwing by his co-travellers in government. Ineffectiveness on the part of government can’t make us patriotic.
Former Nigeria captain, Sunday Oliseh, on SuperSport, opined that the Nigeria Team have the critics to thank for their victory. The critics kept the players and Coach keshi on the edge. This I see as a lesson to President Goodluck Jonathan and his supposed “today’s men of power” , who finds it really hard to subdue their arrogance and see beyond their nose. The critics are patriotic citizens who don’t want us to end in the ditch of maladministration. The bags of criticisms the present administration receives bores from dwindling hopes, unfulfilled expectations and fast rising frustration amongst Nigerians. We are only transforming from disorder to ineptitude with odour filled air everywhere.
Needless to say that the conveying and reconciling of feuding Ijaw ex-militant who until recently have been enjoying juicy appointments and contract from their brother in government Dr. GEJ by Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, would not guarantee a return to power for their beloved son except President Jonathan puts critics to shame by ventilating the odorous political atmosphere and governance with the fresh air he promised us! To Pa Edwin Clark, I have this to say,” An elder statesman is actuated by the love of his country, not by the love of power, tribalism or primordial sentiments.”
I believe when a child’s behaviour puts him at crossroad with people of the community, the elder ought to tell him rather than be an accomplice in his waywardness. There is an urgent need to put aside this crass opportunism, corruption and self glorifying posture and face the job at hand. If the government does what it ought to do, we would turn our pages of criticism to demi-god worship. Pardon me, Nigerians can show such hypocrisy when government truly transforms their lives.
Ujam Basil, the Third place winner of First Bank Plc, Undergraduate Essay Competition winner (2008) posted the question and answer below on his Facebook wall, and I would like to submit by reproducing it here. Question: DOES FOOTBALL ACTUALLY UNITE NIGERIANS OR SIMPLY GIVE US TEMPORARY IlLUSION OF UNITY? Answer: “Yes Football actually unites us while it last and make us feel proud of our country Nigeria but because it’s spontaneous and does not last, the unity it inspires does not last too. There are many things that concern us all as a nation and if the other sectors are falling apart, then the centri-petal sentiments of football success cannot stand alone against the centrifugal sentiments of the other sectors”. This can’t be farther from the truth, but the government can capitalize on those few days or hours of unity to bring about policies without bias. No federal character, no ethnicity, no tribalism, just people orientated policies. The kind, Governor (Ogbeni) Aregbesola of the State of Osun likes to call Marshal Plan for Action.
To the Super Eagles, we need to keep our heads cool and not over celebrate our victory. The Malian team is compact, disciplined and are in South Africa for gold. Only by playing with tact, focus and patriotic spirit like that exhibited against Ivory Coast can we get ahead. Even though I’m not much of a football lover, I believe in Keshi’s boys to bring home the gold and President Jonathan to do the right things before it is too late.
Tweet Handle: @sanity0407
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com