Nigeria left the World Cup with one victory and plenty of hopes for the future, but Germany and Argentina followed in quick succession. Now, Portugal and Spain have gone. Germany left same time with Nigeria while Aregntina that beat Nigeria did not last more than 90 minutes in the very nnext game.
Nigeria held star-studded Argentina 1-1 till the 86th minute when a late goal broke the Super Eagles back. Nigeria with the tournament’s youngest and most inexperienced team (18 boys without world cup exposure) surprised the world, forcing pundits to appeal to Nigeria to retain the team and the German coach, Rohr, for 2022.
Aregentina at last proved it can score but also that it can concede with 3-4 loss to France. France is termed United Africa going by the number of super stars from African countries including Pogba, Kante, Mbappe, and Matuidi that make the team dangerous. Yet, they are not favourites to lift the cup.
Now, instead of Ronaldo, Messi, etc, it is the year of Mbappe, Suarez and others. It is yet to be sure if Neymar will remain in the contest. What is clear is that new world football power houses have emerged and they are not Germany, Argentina or Spain. France is having resurgence; England is moving on though unconvincingly, and Uruguay is on course. Spain looked unstable and we had predicted they were next to leave. Now, they left by allowing Russia to get ahead. The match should not have got to penalties. When it came, Russia’s keeper stole the show, just as Mbappe stole from Messi’s Argentina.
Nigeria has to do soul-searching to discover players at Under 10 to 15 years and place them on a programme with experts. They will explode into the Super Eagles and onto the world stage as super stars. The world can be made to listen to Nigeria in football. Its goable.
Also, Africa needs to start a football scheme to rebuild its house and make respectful impact. The football world is moving on without Africa. The talents are but there is need for strong leadership. For the two finalists in the last world cup to be so easily sacked is a huge message to emerging soccer powers. Nigeria and Africa should listen to what the world is saying. They step up through adequate talent hunt schemes, steady development, exposure in Europe, and topmost coaching.
The Big Goners: Germany, Argentina, Portugal, Spain.
Big Surprisers: Russia, Uruguay, Croatia, France
Big Waiter: Brazil