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Why The Super Eagles Cannot Fly In Nigeria!  –Odegbami

Why The Super Eagles Cannot Fly In Nigeria!  –Odegbami

Nigeria’s Super Eagles should be one of the biggest football forces in Africa by miles. The reality, however, is that even the smallest teams in Africa now find the inconsistent team an easy opponent to take on, particularly on home ground in Nigeria.

Ordinary Guinea Bissau did what was once unthinkable – beat the Super Eagles on home soil.

Playing in Nigeria has become a nightmare for the country’s football fans as well as the players coming from EuropeFor some reason, most of these international superstars always underperform. The home ground has gradually become a neutral ground for most of their matches, leaving fans and players disgruntled and disappointed.  Fans now never know what to expect before matches.

Why is this so? What has happened to the invincibility of the Super Eagles at home?

There are several reasons often adduced: a new coach with unknown pedigree; not enough time for players to assemble and train together to become a team; many new players introduced without a proper grounding in Nigerian football culture and philosophy; a new football administration that is still trying to find its feet months after it’s inauguration; no funds to properly motivate the team; and so on. In short, there are as many reasons as there are persons, all claiming to be experts (they include fans, journalists and administrators), to express them.

Also Read: Fumigating The Sports Writing Sector In Nigeria! –Odegbami

To me, however, the most important reason is the one least discussedIt takes a special eye to be able to peer beneath the superficiality of common excuses for failure and find the missing answer. That exercise would require going back into history. 

Nigeria once had two of the best football grounds in the world. Up till 1995, Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, and U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, had playing surfaces comparable to whatever Camp Nou offers FC Barcelona, what Emirates Stadium offers Arsenal FC, and what Stadio San Paolo offers Napoli FC to date.  

The players in the present Super Eagles squad, young and very gifted, individually, need to have a first-class playing surface to be able to produce their best when they have very little or no time to train together and be properly organised as a solid team before matches. The poor grounds on which they have been playing in Nigeria substantially reduce their effectiveness.

At a point in Nigeria’s football history, the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, used to be a tourist site for visitors and students. People would gather on the terraces early in the morning, or in the late evenings, to watch the nurturing routine of the groundsmen on that hallowed ground.  Teams were allowed to train on the field for a maximum of two times a week only.

For the rest of the time, day and night, the field was nursed like a baby by an ‘army’ of groundsmen over 20 man-strong, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year roundThere was a massive water storage system connected to the town’s main waterworks feeding the imported ‘Bermuda grass’. 

It takes that level of dedication and commitment to manage an excellent football ground.

In 1995, ostensibly because Nigeria wanted to host the World Youth Championship, the government invited an Israeli construction company to come and do a renovation of selected stadia in the country.

When they got to Liberty Stadium and saw what was on ground, the contractors confirmed that replacing what they found on ground was going to be a big mistake. Even  Israel did not have such a facility. 

Also Read: Ike Sorounmu – Unfortunate Poor Treatment Of A National Hero! –Odegbami

What they had brought to replace the playing surface of the stadium was inferior to what they met on ground. 

Wicked sports administrators at the time, blinded by greed and ignorance, insisted that the destruction job must go on. 

The evil deed was done, and was extended to Calabar, Kaduna, Enugu and so on. 

Their handiwork can still be found spread all over these stadia, carcasses of what were monuments to great and lush grass turfs of old. 

The ghost of those times has continued to haunt football development in the country to this day. 

In 2001, I brought two foreign consultants on football grounds from England. They were managing the grounds of Manchester City FC under Kevin Keegan in England at the time. They came to Nigeria to look at major stadia grounds in the country and to make recommendations for their rehabilitation and upgrading to a worldclass standard.
We visited Stadia in Kaduna, Enugu, Abuja, Ibadan and Lagos where they took soil samples.

I still have in my custody their professional recommendations about what needed to be done. The Minister and his officers in the sports ministry at that time did not even understand and appreciate the critical nature of the situation and, so, did nothing.

What the Super Eagles and Nigerians are passing through now, playing at home and looking like the visiting team, is a consequence of not doing anything about the state of the playing surfaces,  not installing the right grass fields, drainage systems, watering systems, and not training groundsmen on modern technology of nursing real grass turfs.

Also Read: Sport In A New Nigeria –Odegbami

I pointed this out to the outgoing Minister of Sport when the 10-year Masterplan Committee for Nigerian football visited the MKO Abiola International Stadium in Abuja when the latest work on the ground was going on over a year ago. I challenged the contractors handling the project to ensure that the highest standards of construction were adhered to because grass fields management had failed severally in the country and needed extra-special handling. They took my challenge very poorly even as they assured the Minister that they knew what they were doing and would deliver a world-class grass field.

The rest is history. It may be a grass fielalright by normal standards, but to have the best playing surfaces to help our calibre of players in the Super Eagles today who do not have the luxury of training for a long time on the poor fields and getting familiarised is a great setback for the team and the country. 

Since the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abuja,  was opened for use as the home ground of the Super Eagles last year, everyone can now see that one of the main hindrances to great performances by the national team on that ground is the relatively poor state of the playing turf.

What to do?
There are no good enough grass fields in Nigeria outside the new Uyo International Stadium to do justice to the ability and capability of the Super Eagles under Jose Paseiro. Hindered by the short time before matches, it makes sense for the Super Eagles to move their matches to Uyo.

For Abuja to become a proper home ground, Nigeria must go back to the ‘architects’ of Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, and get some good advice.

One of them is still alive, living in semi-retirement in Ibadan. He is Debo Adeyele. Nigeria must go and get him, and remove the ‘curse’ from the country’s football at the national teams’ level.
Dr. Olusegun Odegbami, MON, OLY, AFNIIA.

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  • SUGAR DADDY 1 year ago


  • Dr. Drey 1 year ago

    Hahahahaha, the scales are beginning to fall off their eyes, including those of the man who claims to have “sole authority” to speak about Nigerian football.

    When Mr G.Rohr cried out about issues like playing surfaces and the inidcriminate shifting of homegrounds in response to the complaints of the players themselves (The main actors who get the job done), yourself and your clueless incompetent paymaster Mr Sunday Dare told him to SHUT UP……LMAOOoo. Some of their illiterate e-touts on here were exalting them for the good job they were doing back then in destroying our football

    Ofcourse, the endgame then was to make sure he was intentionally and strategically frustrated to the point of failing, so that ‘a dog can have the bad name required to hang it’…but the man kept shamming them all and grinding out results until their jealousy could take it no more….LMAooo….all at the detriment of our football and our dear SE. Its not surprising that the stadium in which the team was FORCED to play its “home” matches was later banned by CAF (an organization that is often lethargic and reluctant to banning stadiums), that was to show how deplorable the conditions where in the said stadium where resounding successes and impeccable displays were expected.

    Nigeria still remains the only country in the world where you are expected to reap BOUNTIFULLY where you have not sown…..LMAOooo

    1 WC qualification failure and 2 embarrassing AFCON qualifiers later, Mr authority is here whining over playing surfaces…..LMAOoo….I guess this is the best time for me to tell you and your partners in evil conspiracy to SHUT UP…..!!! Your Peserio must also play on the same terrible surfaces, get owed wages and entitlements, have his team travel for international games by boat, have his players owed bonuses for 2 years and lets see if he will perform any close, talk more of performing better.

    It is such as shame that in the year 2023 the whole of Nigeria cannot do what colleges and universities do in Europe and the West do effortlessly…….maintain a lush green, even, world class standard playing pitch 24hrs-7days-52weeks year round…..not even in any of its so-called NATIONAL stadia. Yet we supposedly had a sports minister for 8 years and a Mr Segun “authority” Odegbami who was junketing around the globe in 5 star fashion with the minister.

    Without gainsaying, Mr Odegbami’s latest sudden support and advocacy for and on behalf of the ‘whiteman’ Peserio raises suspicion. For a man who never cared about sounding racist, even towards our foreign born players, this new love affair looks like the proverbial “monkey hand inside soup”

    To destroy is very easy, but to build……??? That one takes a lot of time, effort and resources.

    Those who destroyed the SE and Nigerian football and are expecting a ‘quick recovery’ as early as the morning after are the biggest jokers currently existing on the surface of the planet.

    The ‘mustard-seed-sized’ seeds of evil they planted in the team back then seems to have grown into a big Iroko tree. Stumping it out of the soil would require a lot more effort than what was put into planting it the first time.

    As for me, I’l continue to watch this exciting movie playing out now….Lets all see where/how it will end. The last FIFA rankings says we are out of the top 5 in Africa now…..LMAOoo. The last time we were outside the top 5 in Africa was when again…Mid 2018…..LMAOooo.

    Yea…that was the last time we were outside the top 5 in Africa, ranked no 6, from the 16th position where the “worst coach in the history of Nigerian football” met us…..LMAOooo

    Ndi ‘any coach can win afcon with these players in 2 weeks’
    Ndi ‘we have the best assemblage of world class players since 1994’
    Ndi ‘ fail with your owns’

    Una ndo o….!!!

    • Mahmud Shuaib 1 year ago

      We can all see your RHORDIOLA coaching GERMANY

      RENARD HAVRE met him in Africa. Today’, he coaches FRANCE FEMALE NATIONAL TEAM while GERNOT ROHRINHO coaches what team again???

      Ode oshi
      Always whining and crying like a toddler

    • KENNETH 1 year ago

      Look at this cry baby, abeg switch nationality and go to benin republic, you don’t have to support the super eagles. Here spewing nonsense. Even the players are the major problems, most of them do not have the spirit to play the game. What are the guarantees with a good field this players will do the needful.

      • Oakfield 1 year ago

        The benin team is beginnig to feel his impact…..hahahaha….while we are skiing down hill with alacrity. That the painful difference. Hahaha …e dy olaybe dy show….by the time you’ll realize what these evil men have done to our football eh, …..only God knows what your condition abd that if other regressives would be. We warned you!!!! We told u to enjoy the smooth ride with rohr while it lasted that very soon, e go be permutations all the way and heartbreaks inclusive..hahahaha…

        • kenneth 1 year ago

          Look at this fat liar, team that is not coordinated, i bet you didn’t even watch any of there matches, coming here to talk about they felt his impact. Oga abeg no come here dey give us lie, we shall see soon when the world cup starts

          • Oakfield 1 year ago

            A team that is not coordinated was able to score first via a well worked counter offensive and eventually got a crucial draw away from home against a team already established than them. If they weren’t coordinated would they even have been able launch a counter offensive and got a goal ???? This can only be done by a tactically sound team. Tell me when last we launched a counter offensive and scored? Use your head…..

    • Thank you very much sir at Dr. Drey for telling them the bitter truth you warned
      them then but they were claiming all knowing, even though pride and ego will not allow them to admit that they did a wrong calculation but deep inside them they know you are saying the obvious truth, God bless you for always standing by truth

  • Four four two 1 year ago

    What a clasic , detribalized and erudite exposition from a living lend who as seen it all as far as football on and off the field is concerned. Apart from the poor playing surface, Abuja fans do not possess the typical SE fan spirit that moves the God of soccer to do wonders in SE favour and also motivate the players to bring on their A game in tough matches. I keep reiterating that if SE had played Ghana in Uyo nothing will have stopped them from qualifying for the world cup. I don’t know how many fans have noticed that even Osihmen finds it very difficult to score whenever they play In Abuja. The argument that Abuja is the national stadium and therefore SE must make it their home is hogwash and baseless. Many football nations don’t play crucial home matches in their national stadium but rather in a place where the Team spirit finds rest and good luck. Typical examples are Brazil ( Maracana stadium), Ghana (Kumasi) Italy (San siro), Germany (Alense Arena..) etc . we cannot be wiser than these great football playing nations. Football is more spiritual than physical. We can play friendly games in Abuja pls but all serious matches must move back to Uyo as the legend has proposed Untill Calabar and Ibadan are fixed.

  • chuks haifa 1 year ago

    What is he writing again. He is part of the problem. Everything is a mess now. Lets start blaming everyone. NFF and sports ministry destroyed Nigeria football. This is the time to siddon look and focus on premier league for now.

  • Moses Inyang 1 year ago

    When a man claims he knows all,he’s tribalistic and has a ‘controlling’spirit,this is the usual outcome.A bitter stream cannot bring forth sweet water.You don’t destroy your own thing because you are not all owed to’control and manipulate’it.what segun odegbami,Sunday Dare and Amaju have done is almost unforgivable.The conspiracy against Rhor is the worst depiction of human evil.I stand to be corrected

  • Oakfield 1 year ago

    The way he just side stepped the coaching factor is baffling and says everything that the mouth finds it hard to speak. H.mmmm….so, it is now the pitch that is responsible for the super eagles woes abi ???? was it not on this same pitch that rohr was forced to play and got results after all and met his targets with style???? Was it not this same pitch that many players under rohr complained about bitterly but you looked the other way. U even went down history lane to dig up stories to support your monkey argument. Why didn’t you dig up these stories and other factors (of which funding comes first of all) during the time of rohr, at least to show the world that it was not all the poor man’s fault. No u never wanted that to happen, you were always on the media painting an innocent man black with your fellow stupid fellow of a sports minister who has suddenly lost his voice since this site engineer took charge. Now, u are beginning to sing like a humming bird for your boyfriend, pesero. What has happend to your ‘anybody can coach the super eagles belief’ or your ‘anti white stance’ and the ‘our own can do it better beliefs????? All of a sudden, those beliefs have fizzled away in twinkle of an eye. Tell me If it was on the same pitch that we were taught a painful lesson by an assistant tunisian coach during afcon or Lost all the friendly games including the shameful spanking by portugal. May be, the afore mentioned games were played in abuja and Lagos. I guess that’s what your feeble biased evil mind is telling you. Shame on you!!!! You will continue running around like a mad dog until you speak the truth. No rest for the wicked!

    • Oakfield kudos to you for your well scripted analysis. I have being waiting for this write up from the so call mathematical Odegbami, it’s long overdue but what I expect the content to contain defers from what i saw although am not saying the Rhor is best coach in the world but for the super eagles is the best coach for us , because the likes of Mourinho or Guadiola will not take most of what he endure during his reign as super eagles coach then, this is a coach aside his salary and bonuses sees super eagles as his country national team the way and manners he’s zealous about the team not even our local coaches develop such level of commitment but after all the efforts he put in place to make sure that super eagles is a formidable team to reckon with in Africa and beyond all this what he got in turn, he was disgraced out of the team as a reward,I know the man can’t lead the team forever but they should have allow him to take the team to the nations cup and the final stage of the world cup qualification which ended up in abysmal showing for the super eagles respectively. This just my opinion you are entitle to yours

      • Oakfield 1 year ago

        No matter how u hide the truth, it must burst out some way, some how. No doubt, he might be one of the agents that recommended pesero to the nff and u know as usual, money has exchanged hands and he’s hell bent at pointing accusing fingers to other factors, whilst diverting the attention of the gullible from the truth to cover up his dirty tracks!!!! It is a,shame that someone who ought to be a beacon of light to Nigerian football and administration has become a torn in the flesh and a disgrace. Shame on him! Shame on him!!!! He now tries to paint the picture that the reason why Pesero isn’t doing well is bcs of of pitches. Shame! Tell me if the pitches that he and his class of 1980, christian chukwu them, excelled on during their days were better than what we have today or the ones that okocha, steven keshi, kanu, et al played on and made waves were better than what we have today…these clowns would never stop to amaze me. But then what do U expect from a country where elections were glaringly rigged and the mandate of the people stolen and people who claim to be sane are defending the sham and scam of the century??? Nothing has been said regarding salisu that got us knocked out of chan and olympics back to back. The shameless dude still has his job intact and nobody (including this fool that calls himself ode) has asked any questions via his useless articles. They’ve all looked the other way while our football is suffering the consequences. They grin and smile at each other as they grease their palms with kick backs from no good players and coaches. Tell me the rational behind inviting a player that plays for yum yum fc to our hallowed glorious super eagles team, tell me!!! Karma is waiting for all of them. What our national team is suffering today are repercussions from the way a good man was treated despite his sincere efforts to take the team to greater heights even on an empty stomach. God never sleeps. I’m sorry to say this, This ugly trend shall continue until all those that ganged up against rohr make confessions of their evil deeds.

  • Thank you very much sir at Dr. Drey for telling them the bitter truth you warned
    them then but they were claiming all knowing, even though pride and ego will not allow them to admit that they did a wrong calculation but deep inside them they know you are saying the obvious truth, God bless you for always standing by truth

  • Tega 1 year ago

    Assertions everywhere. What is the solution to all these challenges? Good turf or proper organisations? Say and forget the past. You can not recover the past but amend the future. God bless Nigeria.

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