Saturday, 8 October 2011

Football & The Nigerian Spirit 2

Nigerians are in  a state right now. And understandably too! The Super Eagles, the nation's national football team just failed to qualify for the African nations cup for the first time in 25 years! People are angry!!

There are so many questions begging to be answered. Like, had Vincent Enyeama, our suspended first choice keeper, manned the goalposts, would the match have gone differently?

Had the coach, Samson Siasia brought in playmaker, Ike Uche much earlier, would we have won?

Had they, could they, would they? The press is going to be agog tomorrow. Blames are going to be traded and scapegoats would very nearly be found. Nigerians don't take kindly to defeat, especially not in football.

But it is striking to note that inspite of the many other issues in the country, not once did arguments about the match degenerate along tribal lines. It never happens with football in Nigeria. It doesn't matter that Ike Uche is  Igbo. Many people, Yoruba and Hausa inclusive, agree that he should have been brought in earlier in the game. Obinna Nsofor's ethnicity was irrelevant when he scored the first goal for the Super Eagles, everyone from every tribe leapt for joy.

There are so many lessons in unity to be learnt from football. It stares us in the face each time we watch a game. It doesn't matter what part of the country anyone is from, we are all one body working towards one ultimate goal. If we approach ourselves from that perspective, we would begin to see less differences and more common grounds. Only then can the process of healing our nation truly begin.

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