“Yet another Bumpy Road to the Afcon”

The 2013 African Cup of Nations tournament is just days away before its flag off. Good news I tell you and yes, South Africa will be the host of the 29th edition. However, as regards to hosting, we all will agree with me that South Africa is more than capable of hosting the Nations cup as they have done excellently well on a bigger scale with the World Cup.
There’s a popular football adage that says, “football is like a biscuit, we don’t know where its going to crack.” That was the case in the last edition as Zambia took everybody by surprise by winning Africa’s most important diadem for the first time in their history. Although, it was well deserved from them as all the Zambian players wore their hearts on their sleeves. They ousted top dogs like Ghana and Ivory Coast in the semi finals and finals respectively. Kudos to the Zambian National team!
Charity begins at home as they say, so enough said about other countries, let’s take a dive back to my beloved nation, Nigeria.
The much anticipated provisional African Nations Cup squad list was released on Friday and the top boss, Stephen Keshi, invited 32 players to jostle for the 23 spots in the team squad that would represent Nigeria in South Africa.
After seeing the list, the first question that came to me was, “Why do you have to invite loads of players when the tournament is just a few days away, is this wise?”
I also took a good look at the squad list and I saw some strange names which in my opinion I feel do not deserve a call up, and the first on the list is Rabiu Ibrahim, a player who doesn’t even deserve a place on the Celtic bench, and he’s getting a call up! If players get called up based on their contributions to their clubsides I don’t see why he should get one.
Bright Dike is also a belle turning name I found on the list. I had to do a lot of research on this guy to even know what position he plays and what team he plays for, which happens to be Portland Timbers.
The third and final question is why did Keshi choose to omit the likes of Osaze Odemwingie and the in-form, rejuvenated goal poacher, Obafemi Martins? The decison was shocking as it took me days to be able to shake this off. Although we’ve heard series of rumours as to why Osaze was omitted as it was claimed by some sections of media that Osaze gave a condition that he wanted to be the captain of the team which did not go well with the Nigerian gaffer. The West Brom striker himself used twitter as his defence mechanism as he went on to show how disappointed he was in the coach and the whole Nigerian Football Federation, even Siasia had a share of the jab that came from the fair striker. He also gave out some information on different situations to the Nigerian fans.
The question is who should we believe? The media, Keshi or Osaze… Keshi is the boss so he has the right to invite any player he wants.
What are Nigeria’s Chances at the nations cup?:
Traditionally, Nigeria has been known as Africa’s powerhouse, though the 2012 Afcon finals which was held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon was missed. But before that, Nigeria has been a 1st runner-up once and has finished in 3rd position four times. That’s quite impressive you might say, but I feel the Nigerian national team can do better as we have grown tired of winning *The Golden Bronze”
Nigeria has found it hard to get back to its glory days as series of coaches have come and gone failing to make a tangible impact in the team.
However, the Super Eagles appear to be finding some form. In recent outings against Liberia in October and Venezuela in November they were impressive, winning 6-1 and 3-1 respectively.
Every country man’s prayer is for his country to win the Nations Cup and mine is not different.
Nigeria has only won the the Nations Cup twice. The last time that feat was achieved was in 1994, and that’s such a long time ago. I sincerely hope Yobo and co will bring the trophy back home.
Compliments of the season people… Cheers.