Nigeria at the World Cup: A Kaitanamous Journey

30 06 2010

Need A Lager?

So what was everyone expecting?

That we’d storm into the World Cup (that we just barely qualified for), and instill fear into our opponents just by our “sheer might”, or for the fact we’re playing on African soil?

I mean, I wish that was the case, but unfortunately, it comes down to basics of any competition, training & preparation, the latter which we were found to be wanting. There are countries that ‘obviously’ prepared for 4 solid years for this (fancy Japan eh?), and we hire a coach, one who has never coached outside his home country before, months prior to kick-off, and expect him to perform wonders? Is he a magician? Jor o!

Ummmm...4-3-5?

Vuvuuuuuuu...

101 Uses of the Vuvuzela

Going back to the ‘supposed’ home advantage; this vuvuzela issue, one that has brought about many an argument amongst my friends over its use. Person “A” would say, “The vuvuzela? Why it creates a unique ambience for the World Cup”.

Person B would say, “The vuvuzela? For a whole 90mins? Are they blowing it in turns?”

I would eloquently say, “This vuvuzela sef…the one that everyone is blowing it, who is supporting who sef?”

It’s during such times that we Nigerians get creative, and it’s always funny how we find humour in dire situations. When Nigeria was playing Argentina in our first game, and as Argentina scored, I received this message,

“If you want Nigeria to win this match, repeat these Yoruba incantations

‘OHHHHH-biribiri l’oju n ri, ?bo bo l’aguntan n wo, ko ba’le ko ba’le ni labalabafi n wo’gbo lo, ?MESSI oooooooooooo, ?TEVEZ oooooo, HEINZEooooo, ?oya e maa sun!!!’ “

Also during Kaita’s Kaitastrophic error against Greece that got him a deserved Kaita-card, the jokes started raining in,

“‎​Kaita: kay.ee.tah: kaitus a person whose presence in a team has no impact but his absence brings about disarray, confusion and paralysis”

YEH-PA!!

A special mention goes out to Yakubu Aiyegbeni, the jazz that you use to get into the 1st team every time, and continually break Nigerian hearts, is very strong. Kudos. Also a mention for Danny Shittu for getting into the squad in ‘peak physique’

Yakubu "Agege Bread" Aiyegbeni

Danny "Fatty-Bom-Bom" Shittu

Other special mentions go out to Kanu Nwankwo, who has served the side selflessly, and put on a brave display of skill in our final game against South Korea. Also Peter Odemwingie, who continually shows dedication both on and off the field, and I belief should be a strong candidate to captain our side.

Papillo!

I would also say that they only person that showed up, and equally saved us from humiliation of ‘North Korean proportions’ (see them against Portugal, and you’d understand), was our No. 1 Shot Stopper Vincent Enyeama

Enyeama...safe hands...literally!

Anyway, no disrespect to few players who tried to show up and play with purpose, but Football is a team-sport, and no matter how fantastic they may be as individuals, if they can’t play as a team, they can’t progress.

Preparation is key.

We can’t keep riding luck you know?

Enthusiastic Much?





Lessons From Singapore

18 05 2010

As with any journey, physically beyond borders, or mentally beyond our comfort zones, there is always a lesson to be learnt.

‘Lessons’ to take back to better yourself, and those around you, or ‘lessons’ to avoid and equally steer others from….with the philosophy ‘lesson’ outta the way, Asia is freaking cool!

They gained their independence in 1965, and they are light years ahead in terms of development, economically, and (obviously) in technology. That isn’t to say that, “oyimbo brain pass black man brain”, I believe its having that “call to action” and that singular vision of “aspiring to be the best for your fellow country man, and ultimately to the world”

Also, to all those people that whine about NYSC (Nigerian Youth Service Corps), their youth service starts from the point you are 18, and it is a compulsory 2 year dedication….think about that!

Fashion in Singapore leans more to high-street wear cum eccentric. Its the big names that reign in this town, as you see a mass of the young crowd prowling the shops on Orchard Street (Singapore’s “Rodeo Drive/Melrose/Oxford Street”). Bright colors are in, not so much t-shirts, fedora hats,  skinny jeans are a must. All is slim, slim-fitted shirts, slim-fitted trousers, slim-fitted suits…the kind of place I can easily walk in, buy clothes without trying them on. I’m as slim as they come

The “Hollywood” life aside, and going back to the question at hand, “What Lessons are to be learnt?”

1. Its no use having 5 shopping malls (like the palms) if we don’t have constant electricity, since electricity was invented.

2. Its no use extending our public transportation system if we can’t maintain the existing vehicles on ground.

3. How wouldn’t the “youth not be prepared for leadership” (subtly said by the ever-inspiring Ibrahim Babagida) if priority and financial investment is not given to Education?

4. Why would many of us Nigerians, be ‘in our element‘, which includes being unkind to each other, exhibit poor customer service, jumping queues, never respecting right-of-way, when nothing around us apparently does not work. How then are people supposed to act, when there are no binding rules to guide them?

5. How would we truly embrace change when many of us are more concerned with short-term gains, over long-term development
I really wish not to go all preachy on you, but they are some things I think are important, and should be given attention to.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a Chinese guy one time going to South Africa, and he said, “Listen, I’ve worked in Nigeria almost all my life, and I can almost call it home, but there’ s one thing I’ve noticed. Nigerian’s love to overcelebrate under-achievements” (Now imagine my mind being blown into pieces, and the temptation to hide my passport from all sight!)

"Mind Explosion"

But for what it’s worth, I Love Nigeria, it’s my country, it’s our country, and still hold on to the belief that we would put hands together and gain that singular vision, we would make it great….someday!

Demola Ogunnaike SNC





Nigeria, Where Are We Heading?

10 03 2010

I would be brief.

I’m not going to wax poetic, or use a number platitudes, drawing pretty pictures over the bleak situation over the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria.

I’m not going to use any clichés asking you “Stand Up and Be Counted”, or say that “Now is the time for change”.

All I’m going to do is leave you to let your mind ponder over the question.

“Nigeria,  Where Are We Heading?”

…When we change the way we think, then can we ‘truly; experience change in Nigeria.