Naija’s Exit: My Take

(Last Updated On: June 29, 2018)

By James, Michael Igiri
As I packed my bag and left the viewing centre, I came off with the feeling of empty disappointment.
Now I am sure that a lot of those reading this piece may find it relatable in the sense that the nation
lost yet again, to a team that had defeated Nigeria all the times they’d been pitched together at
World Cup tournaments- 1994, 2002, 2010, and in 2014.
I am a football enthusiast. Maybe I like it even a little more than the average guy out there, but I
couldn’t really say my passion for the game is ever enough to follow all matches, or to champion
heated discussions amongst football lovers. You may be wondering, but might I add quickly, it was
not always like that- for I used to have a team I supported until recently- but that’s an issue for
another time.

The super eagles have lost out, and now, Nigerians have begun to do that which we are best known
for; that is, playing the blame game. In a little over 24-hours after the game, I have heard and read
countless comments and opinions from Nigerians on social media as well as traditional media
institutions and in face-to-face/ group communication, statements such as: “Why dem cancel our
penalty?”, “FIFA do us Ojoro”; “White people are racists”; and alot more ludicrous theories and
reasoning for the loss. I dare ask, Why don’t we ever take responsibility for anything? Why didn’t
Ighalo score? Did we posses the mental strength in our approach to the game? Did we get our
tactical bearings right? How well was the FA prepared in terms of logistics and in galvanizing support
for the Eagles? I could go on and on, yet I’d like to remind readers that even if all this was done,
would we have won or not won?
Truth be said, our destiny is always in our hands and though it’s painful to see our fashionistas
‘aso-ebi’ boys return to their various clubs, I feel we should own up and plan towards more fruitful
outing in the coming years.

In retrospect, a lot could have been done right that wasn’t; but even if all was put right in
preparations would the team we all saw play have been any better? What exactly were we expecting
as football lovers? That the team would reach the finals? Now that things have panned out the way
they have, we can only talk on and on and even throw occasional banters, but I assure it won’t help.
However, I have a few questions of my own. It is a known fact that FIFA is giving a certain portion of
its gains to players respective clubs, and now that the Nigerian FA and coaching crew have
prosecuted the World Cup with a host of foreign-based players (for indeed, Okechuckwu Ezenwa of
Eyinmba FC was the only local inclusion). How have we supported the local teams in raising funds for
their respective clubs since their inclusion would have meant more accruals to them in terms of
finance? One of the reasons adduced in selecting players was experience, yet did we not crash out
after three group games? Since this is true, would it not have made more sense if more home-based
players like Junior Lokosa, were drafted into the team?
In the end, a lot is hanging in the balance; the future of the team, that of the coaching crew, also,
there appears to be a ‘no-love-lost’ relationship between the Amaju-led Federation and the Ladipo
Rafiu supporters club which was largely responsible for the poor arrangements in galvanizing
support for the Super Eagles at game venues.
My take is that, just like most of you, I am angry but it’s okay, for we’ll be fine tomorrow (as is the
case with our attention span on all other national issues). I would like to believe that all those

involved will learn from the mistakes that have been made. The team has a future, and it is my hope
that a bulk of the players will be kept as we prepare for the nations’ cup and look forward to the
coming years.