By Sab Ekeh in Cologne, Germany:
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Since the news broke that the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be tackling the Polish national football team this Friday, it has become my staple to tease my Polish friends and journalists on how the Eagles will outscore them right there on their home ground.
My favourite line of attack to them has always been that quality footballers of Polish origin have always opted to play for the German national team.
I have never been tired of reminding them of our local hero, Lukas Podolski, born and groomed by our team, FC Cologne, which I support along with many of my Polish friends. Then, of course, the ex-Germany national team striker Miroslav Josef Klose.
Klose is best known for his performance with the German national team. He is the top goalscorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup ahead of Brazil’s Ronaldo. He won the Golden Boot in 2006, when Germany hosted the world. Both Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose are of Polish origin.
So, as I set out from my city of Cologne to take the bus to Poland from the city centre, I find my mind going through the Polish football heritage and slowly turning to their current players like Borussia Dortmund defender, Lukasz Piszczek, and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Going to Poland by road from the city of Cologne gives one an overview of how similar the scenic landscapes are between Germany and Poland. Except for the road signs and buildings, one will not notice the difference as you enter Poland. The country is rich in fine culture and extraordinary historical sites.
The Gothic Castle is home to the only preserved piece of the Polish Crown Jewels, the legendary sword Szczerbiec coronation sword. Decorated with symbols and floral patterns, the blade is notched to hold a small shield, giving the sword its nickname, the Jagged Sword.
Then there is Auschwitz – Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp which has come to define the German – Polish relationship since after World World 2 in the 1940s. The immense size of the place is a powerful experience for any one opportune to visit the memorial and museum in Oswiecim.
The Polish people are friendly and, like the Germans, very hard working. They are mostly Christians and very good in manual work like construction, they are also good technicians, and into small private businesses that help power their economy.
I find out from my Polish friends and those in Poland that they don’t consider the Super Eagles as a strong team and don’t think that the Eagles will go far in the World Cup in Russia and they don’t expect their national team to go far in the World Cup tournament beginning this June.
However, the Polish people acknowledge that Nigeria has a rich football heritage and still remember the name of ex-Super Eagle players like Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Nkwankwo Kanu, Sunday Oliseh, Rashidi Yekini, Finidi George, etc
And in that rich memory is the very one they poached from Nigeria in the name of Emmanuel Olisadebe, who during a successful career with Polonia Warsaw, became a Polish citizen and played for the Polish national football team for many years. They hold fond memories of him as Nigeria trade tackles with Poland this weekend.
For sure, I will be monitoring the game closely and exclusively for readers of Complete Sports and Completesportsnigeria.com. Stay tuned.