How Kaduna Fans Influenced Kaita's Return To Eagles


Just as the saying goes: ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God.’ This can be likened to how the chant of: “Bring Back Kaita, We Need Kaita-To Improve Our Midfield,” by some fans at the Kaduna Township Stadium, brought back estranged Eagles’ midfielder, Sani Kaita, into the senior national team.

The Kaduna fans made the clarion call to Coach Steven Keshi through a ‘screaming’ banner (Pictured right), during an international friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Chipolopolo of Zambia, the eventual champions of 2012 Africa Cup of Nation, AFCON.

Kaita, who currently plays for Ukranian side, Tavriya Simferopol, last featured for Nigeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa.

During Eagles’ second group match against Greece, the Kano-State born midfielder aided Eagles’ early exit from the Mundial, when he viciously kicked Greece’s Vassillis Torosidis on the touchline in the 33rd minute and was sent off by the referee, reducing Nigeria to ten men.

The Super Eagles, who were leading Greece, conceded two goals after he was set off to end the match 2-1, reducing the chances of Nigeria to progress to the next round of the tournament.

Consequently, Kaita was regarded as Nigerian football’s Public Enemy Number 1 as the Super Eagles failed to win their last group game against South Korea and crashed out of the tournament in the first round.

Former Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia refused to recall the hard working midfielder during his reign, insisting he did not want to draw the wrath of millions of angry Nigerian fans.

Related News

However, Kaita’s 20 months of inactivity at the international front was cut short by the newly appointed Super Eagles gaffer, Stephen Keshi. The Big Boss, as Keshi was fondly called during his playing days, opted to give the former Kano Pillars FC’s combative midfielder a second chance in the national team, as he was called up for the match against Rwanda in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first leg qualifier match holding on Wednesday, 29 February in Kigali.

“Knowing what is at stake, it would be insensitive not to call up Kaita, who is currently playing top flight football in Ukraine for a very crucial match against Rwanda,” Keshi, who was passionately touched by the yearnings of Kaduna fans, told newsmen in Abuja.

Also hailing the recall of Kaita for the Rwanda match was the former Super Eagles attacker, Tijani Babangida. The Ex-Ajax of Amsterdam wing wizard told that Kaita still has a lot to offer the current squad, being assembled by coach Keshi.

Former Super Eagles’ assistant coach, Joe Erico, also described the recall of Kaita into the national team as healthy for Nigerian football. The former national team goal keeper said: “We (Nigerians) need to develop a large heart to tolerate and forgive eachothers.

“It’s a welcome development. I think we’ve been getting it wrong to condemn our players once they do things we perceive to be wrong. Kaita didn’t commit any offence to warrant the treatment we meted out to him.

“Missing a goal, penalty or picking a red card is no crime in football. Drogba, Gyan, among other football stars, have missed crucial goals and penalties, yet they still play for their nations. So I think Kaita’s recall is a positive step both to the player and the nation at large,” Erico Erico told

—Bamidele Olowosagba

Load more