I didn’t want the match oh. I’ve not watched football in a very long time. I don’t think i remember much about the game even.
I peeked at Twitter this morning and noticed folks predicting the outcome of the Nigeria and Mali game that was scheduled to take place at some point during the day.
I had totally forgotten about the match. Not that I was going to watch it anyway. Few minutes later, tweets started coming in about the Super Eagles trashing the players from Mali. The patriotism from the Nigerians on my timeline was refreshing.
The tweets took me back about 15 years ago. Most of them praising the Super Eagles and of course, the very Nigerian thing to do: bad talking the players from Mali.
It’s been a while since i read such praises about our players. in the past say, five to six years, maybe even more, there’ve been nothing but insults and comments making fun of the Super Eagles. (Super Chickens was one of such names they were called.)
Well, the praises just took me back to when I was growing up in Nigeria. There’s was always this tension in the air when the Super Eagles played. The city stopped moving. There were hardly any vehicles on the streets, people were in their homes, gathered around mostly black and white televisions watching the guys all dressed up in green and white or white.
Everything came to a standstill. If your dad or mom was angry at you, that anger was forgiven…only for the duration of the match.
Every where would be as quite as a graveyard till the first goal arrived. Seriously, the entire community screamed/yelled “gooooallllll,” in unison when that happened. That was usually followed by a few kids running out of their homes into the streets. Then in a snap, everyone was in again, waiting on the next reason to shout.
The football experience was almost always never complete without the men from the neighborhood who came to our living room to watch the game. Two in particular had the loudest mouth. Come to think of it, those guys all looked unfit to me i’m sure they couldn’t run half a mile without panting for hours. They would sit there pelting out insults and instructions at the television as though the players could actually hear them. (Well, of course, then as a child and a girl for that matter, no one expected to hear a word from me…)
If the team lost, the entire street appeared kind of gloomy and if they won, there was this cheer in the air. I remember when Nigeria played a game against Argentina in 1996…I think. It was the finals. Nigeria won the game which ended at about 2 a,m. the entire town had a ball. There were small parties all over, men in groups singing praises and all of that good stuff. Street gossip even had it that one guy danced around naked.
I remember Kanu Nwankwo, SUnday Olise, Okocha and Taribo West, being the stars of the game.
Those were fun times and I miss those them. Maybe one day, I’ll be in Nigeria when there’s a football match. I long to re-live such memories. I’ll like to scream “gooooooallllll,” once again.
Till then, Up Super Eagles! I hope they win the African Cup of Nations. It will give us Nigerians one reason to smile and celebrate as one people amidst all that’s going on.