Thursday, November 19, 2009

Super Eagles, What Next?

Finally, after many months of football attrition, all the thirty two teams for South 2010 FIFA World Cup are known. There were many unforgettable moments. How Egypt succumbed to their North African neighbours, Algeria, in a classic Arab football war in Sudan. How Guus Hiddink couldn’t save his Russian team from elimination by Slovenia. How Andriy Shevchencko, one of the world’s finest players ever, was reduced to tears after Ukraine lost out to a steely defensive Greece. How Thierry Henry’s ‘hand of God’ assist would continue to haunt the Irish for years to come. But despite the controversies and high moments, for countries such as Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, the 2010 world cup dream is over.

For Nigeria and the Super Eagles players, the dream has just begun.

After snatching qualification from the jaws of elimination, the Super Eagles left their great escape for the dying moments of their final match against Kenya. If Tunisia had won against Mozambique, it wouldn’t have mattered. But thank goodness, the ‘Black Mambas’ did Nigerians everywhere a huge favour.

Far away from the country then, I didn’t get to watch the Nigeria-Kenya match. I was at Brandenburg Gate when the call came in and excitedly informed me about Nigeria’s qualification. “We have qualified for the world cup,”. Great! I relayed the message to my friend as well. “Really, wow, that’s great,” he said. The Super Eagles qualification was a huge relief for many Nigerian football fans. (Let’s not even talk about the Golden Eaglets).

Expectedly, the talk of hiring a foreign technical adviser for the Super Eagles has resurfaced. As usual, heavyweight names such as Guus Hiddink and Jurgen Klinsmann have been bandied about as probables. Hmmn. Maybe they should give Shaibu Amodu a chance this time. Or what do you think?

Anyways, for managing to qualify for South Africa 2010 World Cup, Nigeria, we hail thee. What happens next would also count.

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