Still on Super Eagles: Leaving The Substance to Chase The Shadow

November 15 20:31 2020

By Yahaya Etila

True to what is usually said about Nigeria being a country with millions of football experts and analysts, the Super Eagles’ Friday 4-4 draw against the Sierra Leonean side has again afforded this assorted collection of unsolicited experts to ply their wares, albeit in a nauseating manner for the least competent among them.

Some writers and analysts have practically been goading Nigerians and riling them to criminalize football administrators for the outcome of that match as if there is really a miraculous mathematical permutation to winning a football match. Even if such formula were to exist then the two teams on a field of play will have access to it and the outcome of their encounter will come down to something as banal as chance.

Football is a game. You win sometimes. You loose sometimes. We have seen some of the best teams loose games. Wins, losses, upsets, drama, shockers, suprises, amongst others make football what it is. The unpredictability of the game makes it fun. The loss suffered by the Super Eagles is a bad one. There are no excuses to justify the loss particularly when the Nigerian team had all the advantages and a clear lead from the onset.

But the analysis of some of Nigeria’s sports writes is more shocking than that loss. The analyses were shocking for being puerile and ignorant. They smack of long simmering bitterness of people who had axes to grind with persons they perceived as belonging to a class they have vendettas with. What should have been contributions to expanding the discourse on making Nigerian football better was reduced to a bellyaching circus that left one wondering what qualified those involved in this travesty as writers or analysts.

Yes. Nigeria parades a cast of sports journalists, who are experts and some of the best minds in football analysis. They are few, but very good at what they do; their intervention in football discourse have potentials to shine the light on the path the country should thread to become a football great. But new tribes of writers and analysts, who leave substance for shadows, are all over the place. They are the ones attempting to browbeat Nigerians into inheriting their sense of hurt that things have not gone their own way.

First, how do you attribute the failure of the Super Eagles to hold a 4-0 lead to the fact that the Deputy Governor of the host state trained with the team on the previous day for an hour? Or how do you accuse the Sports Minister, who was around to inspire the team and boost their morale, of being responsible for the performance of the team because he had a 20 minutes drill with them? If this misguided theory holds true then Nigeria would have performed woefully at the 2019 All African Games in Morocco because the Minister, and at other times other senior Nigerian officials, were in camp to interact with and fraternize with our athletes without them becoming distracted.

It is appalling and illogical that anyone worth their salt can come up with this harebrained idea. One wonders when football analysis descended to this abysmally unreasonable level. Looking for someone to blame does not send you in the direction of talking or accusing people without reason. Some of these pseudo-analysts even went as far as calling the match a show of shame just to please their ego and possibly falvour the pure bile rising into their mouths.

Yet, in spite of this clearly jaundiced views they claim to know football. If they know football then they would have easily recalled that we have such melt downs before. Failing to address it then created the repeat episode we were all treated to on Friday.

The logical take is that the coach, Gernot Rohr lacked the technical knowledge to read the game. He made bad substitutions. The Failure on Friday exposed the weakeness of the coach and the technical team. The players were left in the hands of a coach who could not handle a serious situation. The players lost focus and lacked courage.

Hiding this glaring failing by blaming those who went to identify with the team will only set our players up for another dismal outing in the nearest future while stunting our football in the long term. Real analysts and writers know this.

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