Former Green Eagles’ star, Chief Segun Odegbami MON who visited the Super Eagles before their game against Argentina in Russia had believed a win could a balm to the woes of the nation.
Odegbami was in Russia to cheer the Super Eagles before their last match on the invitation of the Nigeria Football Federation..
Full of hope before the eventual loss, Odegbami, monitored via Complete Sports, a Nigerian authoritative sports journal, told the Eagles in their hotel that he was humbled to share a few words with them.
“Yesterday, I was at the Super Eagles’ hotel in St. Petersburg at the invitation of the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick. I was humbled by the opportunity to share a few minutes again with the team on the eve of another great encounter here at the World Cup. It was an experience I will never forget,” he told Complete Sports.
Odegbami, a member of the victorious Green Eagles that won the African Nations Cup in 1980 added that “I am looking back at history to find out a more challenging match than this one. The expectations are extremely high.”
Looking back at the problems they left at home, Odegbami had thought a victory could be a soothing balm to Nigeria’s many woes. “A victory will be an additional soothing balm to the unprecedented pain, suffering and uncertainties in our country – senseless killings, extreme poverty, ugly politics, a wasting and idle generation of youths, in a country so endowed with resources and talent that could make Nigeria one of the greatest countries in the world if only we take lessons from the example being innocently and simply set by the Super Eagles here in Russia before a global audience,” he said.
“I told the players that they carry a huge responsibility on their shoulders that is hardly recognised beyond the demand for them to win a match. This responsibility could become a burden if not handled correctly and converted into positive energy, determination, patriotism, the will to win, discipline, fighting spirit, driven by the kind of spirit that has made Nigerians the most passionate football followers in the World today,” he said.
He had thought winning the match against Argentina would have made a difference for the simple reason that it would have served as a reminder that together as a people, united behind a common cause that keeps religion, tribal considerations, status and other divisions aside, Nigeria can become the greatest black country in the world within a short time.
He realized that, “The Eagles are Nigeria’s greatest ambassadors of the possibilities of the country – Mikel, Moses, Musa, Omeruo, Balogun, and the other great heroes. I went there to thank them for what they have done so far, and then to challenge them to do more.
“Whatever happens Nigerians love them and appreciate the country’s cross that they carry into the battle. It will not be easy but it can and will be done!
These were the thoughts I shared with the players and I could not believe the fire in their eyes. They were cool and supremely determined and confident to give their best performance so far. Pray for them please so that the elements conspire with us and give us sweet victory,” he said.
Though the victory never came, the Eagles are still super and would remain Nigeria’s greatest assets and agents of unity.
Shortly before the match against Argentina on Tuesday, some major roads in Lagos metropolis were jammed as people raced to different centres to watch the match. Other roads were however emptied shortly after kick-off signifying the massive support for the team with about the most beautiful attire in Russia.
The game ended 2-1 against Nigeria but the Eagles remain super as Nigeria’s agent of unity