Cultural: examining Nigerian problems from football perspective

From the Golden Eaglets (Nigeria national U-17 football team) to the Flying Eagles (Nigeria men’s national under-20 football team) and the Super Eagles (Nigeria national football team) – it is clear that problems facing Nigeria are cultural, not spiritual.

The above football teams have the same dilemma and that is scaling through the qualifier’s stages, many times unbeaten, only to change gear from the Round of 16. Most times, they never went beyond this stage and if they eventually did, they are usually selected as Best Losers: painfully, this is a spirit of average.

At the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia another dimension of Nigeria’s culturally embedded problem was brought to fore – it was to make another person’s life miserable in the attempt to become something or achieve something. Thus, the Super Eagles (2) denied Iceland (0) from scaling the Round of 16 during their match on June 22, 2018 only for the Super Eagles to chicken out of the competition after being defeated 2-1 by Argentina in a game that qualifies for nothing but a show-of-shame from the Super Eagles.

Furthermore, these Nigerian football teams also boast of an unwanted attributes – incoherence, and of course, this one, particularly, is glaring to the world with the manner of operations of the political system in the country. If one looked intently when these teams play it would be discovered that they do not really play as a team, instead, they would lay long passes that would be faster than the intended recipient(s) or lay short passes that the opponents would intercept without hassle; then everyone would play to score, and at the end, jeopardise the chances for advancement (this is a spirit of sabotage that causes some individuals to work against the progress of the nation – through any means).

What about lack of confidence? It annoys to see that the national team (Super Eagles) especially display lack of confidence in themselves when faced with an opponents that they presumed superior: this is reflected in their handling and untimely release of balls, whereas, the opponents would play well, properly navigating passes into the Nigerian team’s net, leading as often as possible, to defeats for Nigeria. This attribute also plays out well in Nigeria’s national scene as foreigners are well treated, revered and taken more importantly at the expense of the citizens. It is an unfortunate cycle that would continue until there is an awakening through national ideology by which the totality of Nigerian citizens are reoriented not in favour of those in power but for a total overhauling of the country’s value system.

The earlier the citizens accept that Nigeria has problems and decide to tackle those problems (as a people); the better for the country and the incoming generations.

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