By John Egbokhan:
Darkness yesterday enveloped Nigerian football after the Home-based Eagles crashed out of the African Nations Championship, following an inexcusable barren draw against Niger Republic in their second leg tie at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
After suffering an embarrassing 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago in Niamey, the Nigerian side, tinkered by former Eagles forward, Daniel Amokachi, were somewhat expected to still scrape through the Nigerien hurdle because of the perceived minnow status of the latter, but how wrong!
Playing before a capacity crowd at the Sani Abacha Stadium, which is now becoming a burial ground of sorts for Nigeria’s football development, remember the 1-1 draw between the Super Eagles and Angola in 2005, which all but ended Nigeria’s dream of playing at the 20006 World Cup in Germany, the home-based stars, assembled by Amokachi, simply failed to fly against their composed opponents, who despite playing against a supposed ‘giant’ side, still managed to escape unhurt.
After palpable fears were expressed over the inclement weather in Kano, the chieftains of Nigerian football, still remained adamant in their decision to take the match to the ancient city, because of the need to honour Alili Galadima, an executive committee member, who died on his way to watch the first leg in Niamey. Yesterday’s failure, has further brought to the fore, the true state of the Nigerian game, one where the wishes of the people do not count much, in the thinking of the governing body.
But this latest setback is more embarrassing knowing that Nigeria have failed to qualify for the CHAN tournament, on two occasions.
Nigerians would be further miffed to know that the coach Amokachi-led side, even failed to score a penalty kick awarded them by the referee in the first half, bringing to the fore once more, the poor technical depth and play of the side. Technical Adviser, Lars Lagerback, was among the dignitaries who watched the home-based Eagles crash in Kano.
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