Now that Nigeria has qualified for the FIFA 2018 World cup tournament in Russia

So, just as expected, the starting line-up of Nigeria against Algeria threw up some strange names with no reputation that must have resulted in a Google search by the “hard to please” Naija fans to get even the slightest idea of their profile.

Well, the game came and went with both teams sharing the points in a 1-1 draw, and not even the centre referees questionable calls and biased officiating which saw the Algerians being gifted with an unmerited penalty could outrage the Nigerians since it did not alter their pre-match intention of leaving Algeria with at least a point.

Mission accomplished in Algeria, Gernot Rohr and his men are now focusing on the game against Argentina billed to take place at the Kransnodar Arena Stadium in Russia. There is no doubt that the match is going to present an opportunity to really gauge how ready the Super Eagles are in playing against some of the strongest football nations replete with world class footballers.

Records show that Nigeria has played against Argentina in top flight football on seven occasions, winning just one, drawing one and losing five. The last game between the two countries was during the 2014 world cup and the La Albiceleste ran away victoriously in a 3-2 win over the Super Eagles. The records may appear unflattering for Nigeria but the game of football springs surprises and upsets every now and then, and supposed underdogs sometimes emerge victorious against superior opponents.

Away from the upcoming friendly, the Super Eagles will be going to Russia with hopes of improving on past achievements. For the 180 million strong football “crazy” Naija fans, nothing is impossible. Although, no African country has been able to make it beyond the quarter final, in fact, only the trio of Cameroon at Italia 90, Senegal at Japan-Korea 2002 and Ghana at South Africa 2010 has been able to reach it and even Nigeria’s golden generation of 1994 that had the likes of Rashidi Yekini, Jay Jay Okocha, Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Emmanuel Amunike, Daniel Amokachi, Kanu Nwankwo among other great players of that era couldn’t make it.

Realistically, if Nigeria is to get to the quarter final or even surpass it, the Super Eagles will need mother luck to shine on it when the draws are made; if they could avoid the proverbial group of death and those “dangerous” European and South American football power houses like Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain to mention but a few, then the first hurdle would have been surpassed.

Another important factor would be for the Nigerian Football Federation and the sports minister to get their acts together. There have been widely reported cases where the egg heads at the Football house where working at cross purposes with the coach of the Super Eagles just to score cheap points, such issues reared its ugly head not long ago, during the time when late Stephen Keshi was in charge of the team.

In recent times, Nigerians have been beleaguered by a myriad of troubles ranging from the recession that is biting hard on the majority of the populace, waves of terrorism ravaging the North East and threats of separatists in the South East who are calling for a referendum to vote for a split of the country. The only time Nigerians all rise in one accord is when the Super Eagles are playing, and a successful outing in Russia could go a long way in dousing the tension that has enveloped the land.

Sign In or Register to comment.