Euro 2012 is on at the moment and I’m loving it. Yes, I absolutely love football and I’m still a girl the last time I checked. My beautiful affair with the round leather game started with USA ’94…… Before then I was stuck in a boarding house where the only pastime was slum book. USA ’94 births a passion in me; I savoured every pleasure in this love affair… Atlanta ’96 sealed it. What could separate me from the love of football? This was tested in France ’98; I was in University and most games clashed with classes. I chose the latter; you would always find me in my friend’s room watching football. I remember losing a bet with a friend who predicted that France would win against Brazil with two goals and Zindane would be the scorer. The prat; how in Pete’s name did he know!!!! Well na Wafi boy, Warri no dey carry last.
So I’ve loved the game for over a decade and in all that time I’ve developed the habit of always supporting the orange boys. There’s something about that team; don’t ask me what it s because I don’t know too. I backed them in the last World Cup….even though they didn’t play fair in their final match but hey! old habits die-hard. Thank you for reminding me they didn’t win any match in this Euro Cup….I know!!!!! Now that’s why I’m writing this because of the huge potentials in the team but alas, potentials need to be realised and utilised. Prefix this with hard work, determination, team spirit and focus. My orange boys neither had these nor did they work towards achieving them. Last World Cup was two years boys, there are no longer underdogs in football.
Football, just like life is full of twists and turns. My beloved Chelsea FC beat Barcelona FC to secure a place in the final of the Champions League. We beat Bayern Munich to win the coveted cup. Chelsea was 6th in the Premier League; twists and turns but I dare to add diligence and keeping your eye on the ball. Now this is not about Chelsea so please keep your comments to yourself. Back to the Euro 2012, Group A consisting of Russia, Czech, Poland and Greece has been particularly interesting. Russia’s 4-1 opening‑day victory against the Czech Republic meant they finished as top scorers in Group A. They were on song….a lot of people were rooting for them. The Czechs ended up with a negative goal difference – but also the most deceptive. These boys rolled up their sleeves after they lost the first game, after it seemed that there was no way back while the Russians went downhill. They felt the win in that first game was enough, complacency set in. All they needed was a draw against Greece in the last group game, an apparent formality in the view of most football followers but they could not get it because they lost focus and did not keep their eyes on the ball. The Czechs progressed to the round of 16 while the Russians progressed to the airport, to catch a flight home. Twists and turns eh!!!!
This got me thinking about the different opportunities that comes our way and just like the Russians we fail to seize them because we are not decisive enough. We, Nigerians are on the edge of giving up on Nigeria because the failures we have faced as a nation outweighs the successes. Let’s go back to the Holland team, they were runners-up in the last World Cup final, they were that good two years ago!!! Great potentials, World class footballers but lacking in determination, discipline, hard work and focus which equals failure. Nigeria is a large mirror of the Holland team but there is hope if we are willing to work hard like the Czech Republic team, it is never over if we give it a real push. When the Dana plane crashed killing all passengers on board, ordinary people with limited resources rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They worked really hard to help the displaced, the families and friends of the Dana crash victims. They organised a memorial service for the deceased; If they didn’t, who would hold them to it? They chose to do things differently. They chose to do the right thing for the Dana 153. They chose to demonstrate that with belief, hard work and decisiveness, we can make a change.
Who says Nigeria can’t be great again? With the Nigerians I’ve met during this Dana Crash Action….I tell you we can…… We have a chance to turn it around, so let’s do it.