Nigeria Flying High With No Supporters


There is no doubt that the Flying Eagles are doing their best to make the people of Nigeria proud with their outstanding display at the ongoing World Youth Championship in Colombia.

One thing that is conspicuously missing and keeps baffling so many football pundits is the absence of support of both the Nigeria Football Supporter’s Club and officials from Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in Armenia, venue of the two matches they have played so far.

In the first group tie against the Guatemalans, report had it that there were only two Nigerian -flag waving fans out of over 10,000 fans that watched how the John Obuh -led side walloped their helpless opponents.

One of them was a young woman called Stella, who proudly kept waving the green, white green flag of the country and even took some pictures with the players after the thrilling encounter.

The other equally passionate fan, a male, wore a green and white coloured shirt and never stopped jumping up and down on every occasion the Nigerian players scored. He was almost manhandled by the stadium’s stewards when he ran into the tracks to celebrate with the Flying Eagles when they scored the opening goal against Guatemala.

It is however ironical to say that Guatemala enjoyed full support from their fans even in defeat as they were represented by no less than 2,000 fans all proudly wearing the country’s white and sky blue colours of the South American country.

They were upbeat, full of praises and singing before the match kicked off and even took pictures with some Nigerian players on the stands.

Just as it was in the first match, the Flying Eagles played their second match against Croatia without any physical support from the Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club and the NFF. The team walloped Croatia 5-2 in spite the threat posed by the Eastern Europe country.

The Flying Eagles again had to rely on the appreciative fans they were able to buy over with their splendid displays against Croatia.The fans sang ‘Ole! Ole!! as the team turned the heat on their opponents.

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“Watching the special dance of the players’ every time they put the ball at the back of their opponents’ net was a delight to behold,” says a Colombian fan at the stadium.

Former coach of the Super Eagles, Amodu Shuaibu was sad about this developmentwhen P.M.Sports asked about the predicament of the Flying Eagles in the World Cup.“It’s quite unfortunate that the players are getting the moral support from their countrymen and women,”he said.

He, however, absolved the NFF of any blame saying, “the long distance of Colombia from Nigeria could have been the stumbling block.”

Amodu urged the NFF to mobilise support in Colombia for the players by making use of the Nigerian Embassy in that country.

P.M.Sports gathered from the protocol department of the NFF that the 10-man contingent that was expected to give support to the Flying Eagles was scheduled to depart the shores of the country last Friday but could not embark on the trip because of inability of the department to travel.

The reason given was that most of the airlines have been busy airlifting holiday makers that are travelling to that part of the world.

It was gathered that the contingent would depart later today to Colombia via South Africa on South African airline.

Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club has been known all over the world to make their presence felt in major tourneys such as the Atlanta ’96 Olympics, France ’98 and Korea/Japan ’02 FIFA World Cups.

—Bamidele Olowosagba

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