This Is The Most United and Dedicated Group Of Super Eagles Players I Have Watched At A Major Tournament

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By: Adewale Ajayi

I have traveled round the world with the Super Eagles, I have sat at table, wining and dining with these players at major continental and global events, I have shared in their agonies and participated in their protests. I have seen the sweet romance between players and officials go sour and from the sidelines, I remember the ugly memories.

Need I remind you of the unpalatable incidences of the World Cup in France 97, or the shameful incidences of the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola?

Years after, other events have come with it’s good and bad sides as players and administrators return to the round table to discuss match bonuses and allowances before the kickoff of major competitions.

However, this time around, the case is totally different. Super Eagles players and officials have formed an impenetrable and unbreakable bond with the present leadership of the Nigeria football federation, NFF, even before their first match at the 2023 AFCON competition. The synergy, unity and friendship amongst players, officials and administrators, is second to none.

This perhaps explains the palpable calm in the team’s camp inspite of some unavoidable rumours.

The ‘let’s do it again’ slogan, was born after several meetings between players and the Nigeria football federation. Both parties agreed, not minding the existing issues on ground, to unite for a common cause. They understand the importance of keying into the president Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda and have agreed to a sustained level of dedication, commitment and patriotism.

On my regular visits to the team’s camp in Abidjan, I have noticed a high level of professionalism. The players know when to come out and mingle, they also know when to stay away from the public.

The teams hotel lobby, which in previous competitions, is usually littered with traders, family members, journalists and women of easy virtue, is generally very calm, peaceful and organized. The players come to the dining for their meal unhindered and return to their hideouts very happy.

Those satanic stories that normally creep out of camp and leaves journalists very excited when putting their stories together, are no longer there, no wonder, journalists coverning the competition are now more focused on reporting what they saw and heard not what they imagined.

It is important to state therefore, that majority of the negative stories being circulated out there, are the handiwork of some unfortunate media miscreants, who sit in the comfort of their homes, to deceive their ignorant readers with well packaged fallacies.

From a vantage position, this writer is pleased to reiterate the fact that the Nigeria Super Eagles team that have qualified for the quarter final of the ongoing AFCON competition in Coted’viore, are relaxed and very focused on achieving their ultimate goal, which is winning the AFCON trophy.

Have you wondered that for the first time in many years, these players have not emphasized the need for increased bonuses and allowances after every win? Have you also wondered that those evil stories of infighting among players or officials have failed to rear it’s ugly destructive head?

If you ask me, I will say, that the current NFF president Ibrahim Gusau and his executive committee, working in conjuction with FIFA Council member and former NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, have fashioned out a formular that is encouraging to all involved.

Despite the pressures from outside and within, that the coaching crew should be tampered with, the board have continued to have faith in them, by giving Peseiro and his team a free hand to select players and decide team formations.

On several ocassions, they have visited players and officials of the Super Eagles to update them of developments as it concerns their match bonuses and allowances and they have also been open to listen and make suggestions, where necessary. There is no high handedness, no bad blood and no reckless comments.

The unity this time around is unmatched and the commitment is unexplainable.

Let’s just hope they stay focused and patriotic as that is the only way Nigeria can make ‘the Let’s do it again dream a reality

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