By Yemi Sodeeq
A critical refelction of Super Eagles of Nigeria World Cup experience would surely generate mixed reactions.
While the country has qualified for the mundial 6 times since her first participation in 1994, It had only qualified for round of 16 three times of all her outing.
Hindsights about each of their outing to the mundial has not been encouraging as countries from European and American continue to dominate the scene given the impression that African countries needs to do more to meet the world cup standard per sey.
However the South Africa 2010 edition of World Cup presented yet another opportunity for the Super Eagles to carve a niche for themselves in the history of the game, but it was with a great shock to see that things didn’t fall apart through technical failure or a divined decided situation but through what could be described as an akward, unfortunate disposition and an inept approach of their main striker, Yakubu Ayiegbeni who missed the golden chance that would have laddered the team to the round of 16.
Today, June 22nd makes it 10 years the match against South Korea was played and Nigerians couldn’t just forget that very moment easily.
Idowu Ojomu is journalist and a camera man working with Sportspro News International, he said it would be hard for Nigerian to forgive Ayiegbeni but on his own part he has forgiven the former Porstmouth man.
“It was unbelievable, I couldn’t sleep that day. I thought it was a spell only God knows. Till this moment Nigerians will not forgive Aiyegbeni, I have forgiven him because is a game of football”
For Agaji Augustine, a Football administrator and an NNL Match Commissioner, Yakubu missed was unacceptable.
“Yeah I watched it, and it was a great and unacceptable miss. I really feel bad that night. I can’t believe my eyes”
Ahmed Adebayo is the former Secretary of Kwara State Football Association,he said
It was an unforgivable miss.
“Infact to me and every football pundits all over world,it is a greatest miss in world cup history. Though,we have seen several other misses that look like this in other football tournaments,but for this type of miss in a crucial stage for Nigeria at the world cup and coming from a striker especially a striker like Yakubu Aiyegbeni is totally unacceptable and unforgivable”
While reacting and reminiscing the moment , Abdullah Abubakar is a Youth ambassador based in Niger State,he said:
“I was seriously seeing us already in the next round before my best Striker of all time dished away that golden opportunity”
I felt sad, because (sic) we failed Mama Africa for the overwhelming support we received across the continent”
And so what really made the miss so special? The reason is not far fetched, though Nigerians are always emotional in every football cause and other sports but in this case the country’ chance to qualify was very slim and the goal would have reversed the embarrassment.
Nigeria could have advanced to the round of sixteen if Yakubu had scored in the 66th minute in front of an open goal even though Nigeria lost their first two matches to Argentina and Greece.
The retired footballer said recently that he still get insulted by Nigerians due to the miss noting their remarks has always been a mixed reactions.
“Missing one of the chances of the decade of the World Cup in South Africa 2010, I still get messages everyday about it, sometimes some of them are being nice, sometimes some of them are being rude.”
For Nigeria World Cup experience ,noting has really changed because the team had participated in the two editions that followed the 2010 campaign,yet no much difference.
While the team couldn’t went past group stage in 2018 edition,they were eliminated in the round of 16 in 2014 after the encounter against French National team.