Coach Stephen Keshi was not given any chance of winning when he led the Super Eagles to that triumphant 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso
2 Games, 1 Point; Nothing To Write Home About
Champions are who they are, not by names, but by characteristics; champions mount up when the tides rave fierce. Nigeria’s Super Eagles were crowned African Champions last year in South Africa 2013; there they broke a lacklustre jinx which had seen them lose at the last four stage of the Nations Cup
The African champions resumed their title defence for AFCON tourney last week Saturday when they hosted Congo Brazzaville in Calabar; to the shock of every one seated at the UJ Esuene stadium, Keshi and the Super Eagles fell flat footed to their opponents
One thing significant in that game, was the man on the Congolese bench, Claude Le Roy
Le Roy has played Nigeria three times and not for once has he lost to the Green-White-Green country
Nigerians moved on, with a silent rage and gripe, in a bitter expectation, looked forward to the second game against South Africa in Cape Town
As easy forgiving as Nigerians are, they pepped up the team, some praising and some cursing the Stephen Keshi and his lads
The three time African Champions flew into SA hours after the game against Congo, in quick readiness and recovery from the fatal blow dealt them by Claude Le Roy
Again, they pressed the pitch; against the rainbow nation who are still considered a testing material under new coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba
Prior to the game, Nigeria has only drawn once with Bafana Bafana, beaten them 7 times and lost once in 2004; Mashaba boasted of a victory, Keshi puffed up with confidence, only 90 minutes was to tell who was in the right presence of mind
While the Eagles were on the pitch, struggling to undo the melee they suffer now, fans and supporters of the Nigerian team were back home hissing and sighing, waiting for when a roar would erode the streets; it never happened, Mashaba was the gaffer who went home with a smile on his face, leading ‘the boys, the boys’ to another emphatic 0-0 tie against the Big Boss
Again, they are cursing, doubting and ejaculating viperous comments why the team is not and should not be called the Super Eagles
Many are quick to forget that this same team gave them pride and joy in January last year; kept them alive and well in Brazil; no Nigerian would say they never glanced at their clocks and watches on days the team was to play
True, the current results from the team are short of expectations, but Champions do not fly all the time
Many have questioned the coach’s questionable tactics and selection techniques; he is the head and reserves the right to decide who kicks the ball and who doesn’t
If Keshi listened to all suggestions, then half of the country’s population would be capped at least once; as that may be, then of what essence is the team? Of course to raise tensions and hen calm them sweetly
Champions do not fly every time, but they do fly!
The super Eagles have not done worse than the mauled 7-1 Selecaos, neither are they doomed seemingly beyond repair like the England team
Reading quotes of a former USA Women’s football team player, Mia Hamm, you get the drift, Champions are champions!
''The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.’’ Mia Hamm
Quoting Pat Riley, what the team needs is support, especially now when the country’s football is just finding its foot after long months of charade and rancour over who heads the NFF
''A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.'' Pat Riley, former NBA player, coach and executive
The coach Stephen Keshi is very much in need of sympathy; mostly every Nigerian knows how it feels to be under an employment, where you do not know your faith
In a society where the ‘Gentleman Agreement’ fails the one who consents to it, then he sure does deserve a slack of empathy for the team’s slur
The team can rise, if it takes a John Obi Mikel washing dishes and mowing lawns to regain that confidence, all that is needed is request it!
''A true champion can adapt to anything.'' Floyd Mayweather, American boxer
''To be a champion, you have to learn to handle stress and pressure. But if you've prepared mentally and physically, you don't have to worry.''
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