On June 1, 2018, Nigerians from all walks of life especially those in other parts of the United kingdom, travelled from far and wide to Oxford in London.
Oxford street in central London, was locked as British police struggled to curtail thousands of Nigerians trooping in from the various train stations and heading towards Nike Sales office where the Super Eagles jersey was officially put for sale.
They were not there for the usual street carnivals but to buy a copy of the much publicised Nigerian National team Jersey which has attracted massive media hype ever since it was first unveiled earlier this year.
Never in our history have Nigerians based in the united kingdom expressed deep love and passion for their father land, never in a long while has a Nigerian match attracted the kind of publicity and frenzy the game in London attracted.
All these points to the fact that the Nigerian youth have all keyed in, to accepting football as the singular most unifying factor that holds a Nation together in the midst of all the uncertainties of our National life.
No other sector, can get Nigerians off the streets like football.
On June 2, 2018, during the friendly match between England and Nigeria, over 10,000 Nigerian youths found their way into the Wembley stadium, an edifice that was packed full with over 70,000 watching spectators.
Those who could not access the stadium watched in the comfort of their living rooms.
Major streets were painted green and white as Nigerians displayed their rich cultural heritage and wore their National colours with pride and passion.
The players too fought gallantly and did their utmost to protect National pride against a star studded England National team who pride themselves till date, as one of the super powers of world football.
The World celebrated Nigeria, the Search for Nigeria on the Google Map hit the roof, the whole world became Nigeria through the platform of one Nigerian identity, football and its World cup Jersey.
Yes, Nigerian World Cup Jersey was celebrated by the World’s leading News Media outlets like never before CNN, BBC, SKY, FOX, ABC, ITV etc. The news analysis on Nigeria’s Super Eagles Jersey and Nigeria was/is unprecedented even as the team leaves for Russia.
The streets of London and the over 70, 000 thousand spectators of different colour and races wearing the Super Eagles jersey inside the Wembley stadium on June 2, sent a strong message to the rest of the World that Nigerian Youths are not lazy, Nigerian Youths hold the key to unlocking Nigeria’s unity in her diversity, Nigerian Youth are the biggest marketing and Public relations tool for our country, much more than any other sponsored or slogan campaign and football is the biggest and by far the largest campaign tool for the govt and people of Nigeria.
Yet the Super Eagles head to Russia without Govt funds released to the players why?
In the face of the obvious commitment and patriotic excitement exhibited by the players and everyone associated with ‘Project Super Eagles for Russia 2018’. it is sad, very sad, to know that the body saddled with the responsibility of seeing our Super Eagles excel in Russia (The NFF) have continued to squeeze water out of hard rocks, just to get things going.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been really magnanimous in his overall disposition towards the team, he has shown his passion and undying love for football since he assumed office in 2015 but somehow, a few individuals have stood as stumbling block between him and the Super Eagles, thereby stopping the flow of funds released for this purpose from being easily accessible.
What this mean ultimately, is that, there is a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigeria’s successful participation at the world cup.
The monies released by the world football governing body (FIFA) for National team’s preparation is 2m US dollars, coupled with the over 800m Naira ( eight hundred million naira) gathered by the NFF in their rigorous marketing drive. All these monies, are all being help up by government bureaucracy which has made planning and preparation a very difficult task.
Even as the Nigeria football federation keep sealed lips over their present predicament, our investigation has revealed that, theirs is a case of a group of individuals suffering and smiling in penury.
They have spent all they have to keep the team comfortable. The officials have been fully paid all their salaries and allowances, outstanding bonuses for players have also been sorted, while their daily camp allowances have been totally taken care of.
Team captain John Obi Mikel attested to the fresh air of comfort blowing through the camp on a recent visit to president Buhari just before the contingent departed for London for their training tour.
He gave kudos to the NFF for making life very comfortable for the players and officials, stressing that never in the history of the National team has it been this good.
If this submission and those from Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi and other team members are truly correct, then the Nigeria sports minister Solomon Dalung must rise and act.
He must for the sake of matter of National joy, come to the aid of the NFF and save the Nation another potential distraction and disgrace.
like it happened at the World Cup in 2014, fresh crisis seem to be brewing which if not quickly curtailed can escalate into a major problem that will break the cord of unity in the team and destroy our hopes of putting up a brilliant performance at the World cup.
A stitch in time will save Nigeria nine major stitches.