Nigeria Supporters Club
By Kunle Adewale
The negative perception of European countries and America about Nigeria was erased by the country's performance in global soccer competitions in the 90's.
This was the submission of the President General of the Nigeria Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, during the unveiling of the Glo Soccer Academy; a television reality show tagged The Dream Team in Lagos Wednesday.
According to Ladipo, Nigeria was seen before now as merely a nation of fraudsters and drug pushers with nothing else to show for until our footballers erased the notion with their soccer prowess at the 1994 World Cup and the football event of the Atlanta Olympic Games two years later.
"I was in the United States in 1944 for the World Cup draws and there was a conspicuous sign board at the airport with the inscription, 'Beware of Nigerians'. But after the exploit of the Super Eagles at the Mundial of '94 the warning notice at the airport had been removed and Americans and indeed the whole world started seeing Nigerians from another light," Rafiu recalled.
The supporters' club president general is therefore calling for an urgent revival in the country's sports so as to regain the lost glory just as he berated some Eagles players for their lacklustre performance in Libreville last Saturday during the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier match against Liberia, which cost the team victory.
"The dwindling fortune in Nigerian sports most especially football has to be arrested fast else it will spell doom for the country. Coaches should stop being sentimental in their selection by fielding players they want to sell and we have to do away with age cheats. We should also stop concentrating not only on man power development but also develop facilities," Ladipo warned.