It was just recently, a statement was released by the federal crown court in Abuja on the 21st of January, stating that the Nigerian football federations were being disbanded from football, “The Nigerian football federation (NFF) and Premier League (NPL) will be dissolved.”
Recent competitions haven’t been kind to Nigeria, especially big tournaments such as the World Cup. Their last two saw them knocked out in the group stages in 2010 and 2002.
The ‘Super Eagles’ have been crowned African champions twice both in 1980 and 1994, and their uncharacteristic failure to not qualify for the African nations cup in 2012 was the first time since 1986.
Many will be very much surprised to not see Nigeria in this month’s African Nations Cup, and the national side only have themselves to blame, the 2-2 Guinea draw on the 8th of October, in Abuja was enough to ensure Nigeria did not cement their place in the tournament.
The former Nigerian coach Samson Siasia, was suggested to have many fall outs with the first team players, which one could easily link to being one of the problems for West African side. His recent spat came with West Bromwich Albion forward Peter Odemwingie, which led to Odemwingie not being part of his squad.
However, it could be argued that the ego’s of many of the first team players have not helped the progress of Nigeria as a football nation, the likes of Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel have fallen off dramatically throughout the course of last year for club and country, which has left many critics wondering where the future lies for them.
In all fairness, it would be cruel to suggest that the NFF are not trying to rectify the situation, the new appointment of Stephen Keshi has at least indicated for the mean time Nigeria expect drastic changes to be made within the next coming years.
Keshi was the captain of the last Nigerian side to win the African Nations Cup in 1994, and will know what it takes to make sure Nigeria are right back in it next year. His Job specification is quite simple, qualify for the African Nations Cup in South Africa 2013 and ensure his team makes the quarter-finals in Brazil for the World Cup 2014.
The future is not all doom and gloom for Keshi’s men, he’ll be pleased to know he has a lot of talent he can work with, in the next few years. Inter Milan’s Joel Obi is just one of those many talents, the 21 year old is highly rated by the Nigerian camp and although he hasn’t featured a lot for the Italian outfit, his versatility in the midfield is very much admired.
Another player to watch out for is the 18 year old Ahmed Musa, a young winger plying his trade in Russia for CSKA Moscow, the lighting quick winger is known for his hard work and determination on the field, standing at 5ft 7 the young speed demon is well equipped to trouble wingers on both flanks.
A few strikers to watch out for are Emmanuel Emenike, 24, who has scored eight goals in 11 games for Fernabache, Ideye Brown, 23, has scored 10 in 18 games for Dynamo Kyiv and Anthony Ujah has scored 27 in 36 games last season for Lillestrom.
The Nigerian side will be hoping a merge of hot prospects and talent will be enough to get them back into the AFCON next year. The manager knows the task at hand won’t be easy but he brings with him experience in abundance, whether his winning mentality can rub off on his current squad remains to be seen.
It will be a shame to not see the Super Eagles in this year’s AFCON but I’m pretty sure a fresh start a long with a new direction will ensure them a part in South Africa next year.