When life fails you be sure that your football team will follow suit. Famous words made known to me by Mr Soccer for Suckers. But now I’m experiencing a pain of another kind; the pain of seeing your favourite player being gradually phased out from your national team. In my case Julius Aghahowa being the player and the Super Eagles of Nigeria being the team. Aghahowa’s name wasn’t included in the team list for the Nigeria-Niger Ghana2008 Nations Cup qualifier to be played in Abuja on September 2nd. Coach Eguavoen doesn’t seem to like him or to be political correct thinks his time is up. But this is made all the more painful by the fact that Obafemi Martins has been getting an undeserved starting shirt in the last few games the Eagles have played. I know that it’s the normal sequence for most players (You know there’s always a time to rise and shine and a time to bow out. At your peak you’re boy-wonder but than months or years down the line you’re doing a lot of training but no playing and it goes down hill from there) but I just can’t seem to get over it. I’ve loved Aghahowa since his Nigeria’99 days; he grew on me probably because he dons my favourite number: 17. But no doubt about it the guy delivers. No other Eagle since let’s say 2000 has made a career out of scoring when it matters and scoring really crucial goals! Evidence abounds: the Nigeria-Senegal game in 2000, the Nigeria-Sweden game in 2002, and the Nigeria-Gabon game in 2005 to name but a few. That’s why he’ll be remembered for years to come.
This article by Aba Boy and the comment flow in it between Chxta and Errata motivated me to go on this roll. Minus the fact that we speak the same language with the US and England (thus we’re more in each others business) our large population of over 120 million people is the other major reason that adds to our being easily victimised (given a bad name) as a nation.
Let me break it down for you. A large population = a greater chance of a richer economy = more importance on a global scale = foreign influx and citizen out flux = more international media local headquarters = more news time = more bad press. I mean when last did you hear a story about Equatorial Guinea? There’s more: as a parent when are you more likely to get a call to report to the station that your child is in police custody; when you have two kids or when you have seven kids? When you have seven. You guess correctly.
But it’s a pity that as Nigerians ourselves we’ve allowed the negativity to possess us. I saw a C-class celebrity, a guy from the Star Trek Talent Hunt Show performing on TV with a live band. I was naturally happy for him but I was gob smacked when I realised he was a Fela wannabe doing some Nigeria-bad-this-our-leaders-corrupt-that rhymeless, uninspiring singing. Don’t get me wrong he’s free to do that and he’s speaking the truth to an extent but when it reaches a level that you hit out at the nation solely to blow up and to score cheap points as being a conscious artist then something’s wrong. In the same vein when one makes a career out of seeing only the negative than something must also be wrong. A bad story, oh goody-goody something to blog about, a good story oh boring not blog worthy. I know a few bloggers like that. They’re good but too damn one-sided. I eat up their shit light heartedly and balance it with other info if not I’ll end up a pessimist.