The Nigeria National team – I loathe to call them Super Eagles – followed up their 1-0 defeat of Mali with a 3-1 whitewash of Luxembourg on Tuesday. But the game was largely ignored by the Nigeria public, for many reasons.
It would have probably seen wide viewership had it been on terrestrial or even cable television, But it wasn’t.
The match, which was streamed online had only 988 people logged on at the height of viewership via the Channel link provided by the Nigeria Football Federation. Daily Motion reportedly had 2,406 viewers, while YouTube had 2,065. That’s a total of less than 5,500 watching the national team of a nation with over 100 million football fanatics.
What could have caused the apathy?
Simple. The idea of the Eagles utilising an international match-day is a good one, but the choice of opponents is terrible, and that is an indication of how far we have fallen in world football. In 1994, the Super Eagles played friendlies against Sweden and England, in 1996, Czech Republic were our opponents. 1998 saw Nigeria squaring off against Germany, Yugoslavia, and Holland.
Fast forward to 2008 -2010: Austria, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia were the opponents and Now the likes of Liberia, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Luxembourg are the staple with an occasional Italy or Mexico thrown in.
The viewer apathy as somebody said, was caused by the boring nature of the game: Luxembourg were over-matched, the Eagles were strolling despite managing to concede a silly goal.
The NFF would have done well to find a strong African country that wants to play the Eagles, a loss would have served Nigeria better than the feel-good waste that was the Luxembourg win.
The World Cup qualifiers are coming and it will be brutal. I’m willing to bet we will not find any team, no matter the group we are in, that will fold as easily as these minnows of European football.
NB: The Eagles have since been paired against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia