In the last 4 days, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have managed to give me some good TV time. I missed the match against Iran because I was still at work at that crucial time. Nevertheless, I was assured by my friends and frenemies that I missed nothing at all. I was told of how the showing of the boys was abysmal, to say the least. I was assured that we would be knocked out before the Round of 16, except if our Football Mathematics – a brand of Math that mostly works in Naija – worked again. So when I watched Emenike and Odemwengie join forces to give us a 1-0 edge over BH (Bosnia-Herzegovina please, not that terror group in the north), I was gratified. Now, we could start solving our Football Mathematics – we could start making permutations that essentially calculated Nigeria’s fate and chances at Brazil 2014 based on the misfortunes of other teams. That has been our style over the years. For better or for worse, that style has never been known to fail us. So we calculated that we could afford to lose to Argentina, provided Iran lost to BH, or at the very best pulled off one of those their goalless draws at their last match.
So when the first 4 minutes of the Nigeria-Argentina meet saw one goal in either net, people like me had to turn in their sleep. And when the next 40 minutes basically pitted Enyeama against the entire Argentine team in the Nigerian half of the field, people like me woke up and began to nurse the hope that perhaps we could pull off a draw, after all. Then, just before the end of that scintillating half, Messi’s birthday (left) boot’s shot found the back of Enyeama’s net. Again.
Just in case I had lost hope, Musa returned Messi’s favour. I was ecstatic. Now we were well on our way to our first World Cup victory over Argentina. We were going to show them that although they had the world’s best player, we had the world’s best saver – never mind goalkeeper. And indeed, we showed them. Di Maria’s several botched attempts at goal can attest to that. But alas, showing them was not enough to give us the victory people like me hoped for. After that Messiful team got a third behind our net, their Messiless team was able to prevent our Musaful team from giving us yet another equalizer; not that we didn’t absolutely squander some opportunities in ways that would shock the Prodigal Son.
Enyeama managed to concede 3 goals in a single match, 2 of them from Messi. I am unsure why he conceded Messi’s 2nd goal, seeing as he had just saved a similar challenge from Messi from about the same spot; however, he has saved us so many embarrassments in the past so I guess we can afford to cut him some slack. For this group stage, I think Enyeama was my MVP.
Mikel´s lackluster performance today was spectacular; Nwofor´s hair would have been interesting to look at if it had propelled him to give us a 3rd; Yobo...well, this was his 100th cap. Congratulations, sir. It’s a pity Michael Babathunder had to leave the party so soon. Emenike may be a good shot, but he does seem to have trouble carrying his own weight around. In general, the boys were much better than I had expected them to be, and they really did #BringBackOurGoals. Nigeria gave as good as she got in this game. I saw a Nigerian side that was in the game because they wanted to play good football - and I was proud.
Now it is on to face Les Bleus at the Round of 16.