Leadership of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) deserves commendation for Super Eagles’ World Cup build-up. It had never been this smooth. This is one build-up that has been bereft of hiccups and bickering. From day one, the NFF helmsmen had it all well rolled out. All the Ts were crossed and ‘I’s dotted.
The players negotiated and knew what was due them and all sorted out as at when due. At least, for this Mundial, we are sure there wouldn’t be any haggling over bonuses on the eve of matches. We are certain the nation won’t be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Such wrangling over bonuses on match eve had undone the national team in past World Cups. What readily comes to mind is the shocking 1-4 loss to Denmark in 1998. It is heartwarming to note that such scenarios won’t play out at the Mundial thanks to some sound Management at the NFF.
The fact that the bonus rows consistently popped up at previous World Cup appearances is a huge indictment on the leaderships then. One should always learn from past mistakes and make relevant corrections. After five previous appearances and concomitant mistakes, it is good to note that the NFF has done the needful heading to the sixth.
If there is a trophy for the best prepared and packaged team, Super Eagles will be serious contenders. Talking about packaging, from the World Cup kits to the bespoke suits and caftans, the boys from Nigeria have looked like the proverbial rich man’s sons.
The scramble for the the Nigerian jersey the very day it was released in the market should make any Nigerian across the globe proud. The trended images of queues on the streets of London as foreigners scrambled to purchase the jerseys was one of the proudest moments any Nigerian would have had in recent times.
Nigeria’s home jersey came tops in Mirror UK’s ranking of the 64 jerseys to be worn at the World Cup. That ranking came on the eve of England/Nigeria friendly in Wembley. So they joked that the jersey having been sold out, the only way of getting one was playing against Nigeria and swapping jerseys.
In a related development, former national team captain and coach, Sunday Oliseh pointed out that Eagles opponents will scramble to have Nigerian jerseys at the World Cup after matches. This should do something to the players’ egos and confidence. When was the last time we had a jersey so globally acknowledged? In fact, we are used to vituperations following the release of largely substandard jerseys and designs in the past.
And just before the euphoria over the jersey could die down, Eagles modelled their World Cup suits on the eve of departure from Austria. The next day, the team flew into Russia decked in white/green designer caftans with marching shoes and caps. Once more, the buzz on social media was remarkable.
Those who packaged this team must be commended for laundering the nation’s image. The positives of this build-up far outweigh the negatives, if any. They have set a new standard that future Nigerian teams heading to the World Cup will be assessed.
It is now up to the players to reflect all these on the pitch. They have no excuses. To whom much is given, much is expected. Naijasportsgrill.com.ng wishes Eagles well in Russia.