Nigerians have took to their various social media handle – reacting and savouring the Super Eagles’ commanding victory over Iceland on Friday afternoon

A drab first half, which the three time African champions had the larger share of possession, but could not have any shot on target was improved on in the second half – with two goals from Ahmed Musa deciding the tie.

The win meant that if Nigeria could get at least a draw in their next game against the Albicelseste of Argentina, and Croatia could force Iceland to a draw, or lose by a margin not more than three, the Super Eagles will move to the next round of the Mundial.

Savouring the moment, Nigerians in their usual fashion have taken to the social media spewing out different shades of opinions, jokes and so on.

A Twitter user with the name DADDY THE FATHER @SemilooreAkoni has likened the joy in the country aftermath the Eagles' triumph to that that was witnessed when Abacha, who has been dubbed as Nigeria’s worst ever dictator died on June 8 1998.

@SemilooreAkoni wrote: “The last time Nigerians were this happy was when Abacha ate apple and died.

 

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Another Twitter user also joked that the improvement in the second half from the players could be as a result of the coach threat to arrest the players with the Nigeria Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).King of Ikorodu @OtunbaBillz: “See them playing like Rohr threatened them with SARS at halftime.”

Jeffrudeen @VillageParrot also wrote: “In less than 90 minutes,Ahmed Musa has made Nigerians happier than Buhari has in 3 years.

Also, Nigerian musicians were not left out of the party, with Olamide Adedeji, aka Badoo full of confidence - saying all that is left for the Super Eagles is to defeat the Argentines in their next game.

Olamide Adedeji @olamide_YBNL wrote: “Na to chop Argentina eyes remain now ! Nigeria issa goal !!!

Michael Collins better known as Don Jazzy, who was proud of the Super Eagles’ performance wrote on his twitter handle @DonJazzy: “We did thissss. If I catch any geh this night. Na belle straight.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Akpoborie has warned the players not to get carried away with the victory over Iceland.

The former Nigerian international wrote on his Twitter @ Akpoborie: “Job is not done yet, there is still plenty of football to be played against Argentina.

Published in Awa Football

By Oluwaseun Alsehinloye

1. Super Eagles Beautiful Jersey.

This jersey was reported to have sold out under three minutes – and it will always be in discourse throughout the tournament even when the Nigerian team is out of the competition. My expected moment will be Messi and co chasing Nigerian players to exchange jerseys after the final whistle since Nike had decided not to produce again. I also expect our Twitter family to mock the Super Eagles elimination by blaming it on the hype on the jersey.

2. Racism

The second on the list is the dreaded ‘Racism’. Russia is one of the major hubs for racist chants in the world. Recently, the Independent report on its website in April revealed how Monkey chants were aimed at black French players during France's 3-1 friendly win over Russia in St. Petersburg in April. FIFA investigated the issue and fine Russian FA but still, I can predict one or two issues of it to make headlines.

Backtrack to 2010 when former Nigerian international Osaze Odemwingie had a taste of the racist act that is putting enormous disrepute on Russian football. Upon moving to West Bromich Albion in the year 2010, Lokomotiv Moscow fans were seen in a game displaying banners at their stadium containing Banana, and thanking West Brom for buying Osaze.

3. FIFA World Best Player, Who deserves it?

The World Best Player Award given by FIFA is believed to be determined by the performance of players at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The likes of Mo Salah, Neymar, Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo claim of the prestigious award will be based on their individual performance and how far their countries fare at the World Cup.

Many believed this is Lionel Messi and Argentina year since they have gotten to three finals in their three last three competitions (Two Copa America finals lost to Chile both on penalties and Mario Gotze trophy-winning goal at the last World Cup in Brazil).

The Arab world and neutral Africans ( those not a diehard fans of either of Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi), will love to see Mohammed Salah shake-off the alleged Sergio Ramos inflicted injury and take the Pharaohs of Egypt at least to the Quarter-Finals in Russia.

Messi and CR7's fans will be tipping their choice to shine so as to have proof as to why one of them should be the World Best Player of the year 2018.

Neymar on the other hand will want to win the World Cup for Brazil - to compensate the Selacao fans after the Samba boys abysmal display at the last Mundial on home soil - that saw them being thumped in the quarter final by the German machines by seven goals to nil. This is also an opportunity for him to show the world that leaving Barcelona is a good decision and not being able to progress beyond the second round in UEFA Champions League was because his team Paris Saint-Germain faced a history of  chasing Real Madrid . For the new Brazilian golden boy that has recorded over 50 international goals for Brazil in less than 100 games, this tournament will be the biggest podium for him to announce his greatness to the world; he might never have such opportunity again.

4. Fan Violence

The fourth on our list is the violence. Attacking of opposition fans is not a new thing in football especially if you are the home fans and your team was beaten either mercilessly or pip. Nevertheless, it is against the rule of fair play as preached by FIFA. Due to the diplomatic tension between Britain and Russia, there is a cat and dog relationship between Russian fans and English fans. According to AS, Memories of the violent scenes of the Russian fans against the English in the last European Championships in France have not been forgotten, with street lynching in the streets of Marseille and incidents inside the stadium getting plenty of media attention. The same sports news medium also carried a report on how Russian fans are visiting Argentina to seek support to fight English fans that they tagged ‘hooligans’.

If FIFA in partnership with Russian Security agencies didn’t find a way to curb this from happening, there is a possibility of it taking the beautiful game of football out of the limelight and replacing it with gory scenes of dead or critically butchered fans. This is newsy to the media but badly for the world. I am sure the social media world don't want violence in Russia. Very Sure of that.

 5. Video Assistant Referee (VAR): The Fun Killer

The beautiful game of football is more memorable when you can talk about the controversial moments said a friend of mine. He referenced the “Hand of God” of Maradona, Frank Lampard disallowed goal against Germany, Geoff Hurst winner against Germany in 1966 final among other, as the moments that were controversial but alluring.  He aggregated that VAR is going to be a fun killer.

Like my friend, there are millions of football fans in the world that want to see VAR fail in the World Cup. They believed it disrupt the flow of the game and waste time therefore it flopping will make them easily agitate for removal. Twitter will surely be the tool for this war against VAR.

 

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Published in International Watch

The Super Eagles captain has claimed Nigeria would have won the World Cup if not for indiscipline and lack of organisation.

Speaking to Guardian, the former Chelsea man explained how indiscipline has been a cancer in the National team for years.

Though he was ruled out of the 2010 World Cup due to injury, Mikel revealed indiscipline exhibited by the players that represented the country at the World Cup almost led to Goodluck Jonathan, the then President of Nigeria suspending the National team for two years.

“There were massive problems in the camp and that’s why the president got upset,” Mikel told Guardian.

“He {Goodluck Jonathan} said: ‘Until you guys fix yourselves up, that’s it. No more.’ The public were upset but they were in support of it because they also wanted whatever was going on to stop. We couldn’t keep going to tournaments and making a mockery of ourselves.”

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Four years later in Brazil, the story was not much different as to what happened in South Africa.

Making it pass the group stage behind Argentina, the Super Eagles were knocked out by France in the Round 16.

Prior to the game, reports had it that the players refused to train and threatened to boycott the Round 16 tie game against France over payment dispute between the Nigeria Football Federation and the players.

He explained, “There were a lot of problems in the camp which a lot of people didn’t see, the media didn’t see – we kind of hid it under the table.

“The relationships between the players were not good and there was no discipline. There was no good feeling, no good vibe.

“It almost got to people being pinned up against dressing-room walls, although not quite. It was confrontation and arguments. Players wanted to do their own thing and they didn’t think about the team.”

Mikel, who is the longest serving member of the national tea, and who has been saddled with the responsibility of leading Nigeria to her sixth World Cup, claimed that tides have changed under Gernot Rohr – “saying I haven’t seen this discipline before.”

The former Chelsea man said players were united and himself and the coach had warned anyone who is not ready to play as a team to leave the camp. 

 “The coach and myself, as captain, have tried to make these young players realise that we are a team, not individuals. If you don’t want to play together, you are welcome to leave. It’s amazing now to go to camp. You can feel the good feelings.

“I have been in the national team since 2005 and I haven’t seen this discipline before.

"It is meetings, being on time, the training. Sometimes a player has the hump because he knows he is not going to make the team and, before in the national team, he just strolls around. Now, you have to train properly. If you don’t, you are leaving the camp. The coach has changed the whole mentality,” Mikel added.

Nigeria will kick start there World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 before locking horns later on with Iceland and Argentina respectively

 

 

Published in Awa Football

The Erstwhile goalkeeper of the Super Eagles as compared playing at the World Cup with going to the Holy Pilgrimage of Mecca.

Ike Shorunmu, who was behind the sticks for Nigeria at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup said players got an unprecedented treatment playing at the World Cup

Describing the feeling of playing at the World Cup in an interview with Punch, Shorunmu said: It’s the Mecca of football. When you appear at the World Cup, it’s like a president visiting another man’s country with the kind of treatment you are given by the hosts.

“It’s very interesting. Believe me, you can’t compare it to any other competition; it’s a special tournament. From the airport, you get a welcome party to your hotel, the security and atmosphere are amazing.”

The 35 capped international, who missed out on making the Eagles’ squad to the 1994 and 1998 World Cup described missing out at the latter as the worst memories of the World Cup.

He added that keeping Super Eagles’ first game at the 2002 World Cup, a game Nigeria lost 1-0 to Argentina was his best World Cup moment.

”I missed the 1998 World Cup and it remains my worst because there was a lot of noise that I would be there,” Shorunmu said.

“There was advertisement and even a shooting session ahead of the competition but it was like I was destined not to appear at that World Cup.”

He added, “My best moment was playing our first game against Argentina at Korea/Japan 2002. The pressure on the team was on me, that “Ike, you are the one we are hoping on.

“But I couldn’t do it alone, it’s a team work. But I achieved something at the World Cup with my performances against the Argentines.”

Published in Awa Football

George Weah, the only African player to have won the FIFA World best though never played at the FIFA World Cup, had given Nigeria a template on how they could have a successful World Cup campaign later this year in Russia.

The Liberian President who paid the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this week at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as parts of his recommendations for the Super Eagles to have a successful World Cup campaign warned the Nigerian ministers not to swallow funds meant for World Cup preparation.

The 1995 World Player of the Year also charged the Super Eagles to be the first African country to lift the World Cup – saying “they {Nigeria} are going to represent Africa.

“I think Nigerian team is a model, we all followed them,” Weah said. “I have played with great Nigerian players, I played against them. Now you have a new generation, the fact that they qualified is a good thing for Nigeria.

“But I hope that they will prepare very early because they are going to represent Africa and we will be there to watch them, for them to bring the trophy for the first time if it is possible."

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Weah added, “But I think the seriousness to go to World Cup is not to pay players to go, I want every African government to know, if you win World Cup is a pride to Africa, it is not just to Nigeria, so we must do everything to ensure that the players are not stressed, make sure they concentrate, make sure their incentives are given to them to motivate them.

“Some of the things you see at the World Cup, you will see an entire team go to represent a whole country and you will hear that one minister took the money, they did not pay these players and the players are causing problem. When players are going to camp, it is to relax and focus.

“And for them to be in camp they must have everything there for them not to worry.

“Remember I played in European setting, when we go camp we have nothing to do. The only thing we have to do is to take a shower and prepare for the game, everything is laid down here and so you have no excuse. “So let the players not have excuse, support them and let them go and bring back that cup.”

All these advices from the legendary George Weah - we at spotkick hope the relevant authorities would take note. But it is suffice to state that animals are the only ones that swallow money in Nigeria and not human beings.

And if human beings do swallow money, we’ve not heard any so far in 2018.

Nigeria have been drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina – and they will kick-start their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium before facing Iceland and Argentina on June 22 and 26 respectively.

 

Published in Awa Football