By Ori Martins 

It was Lewis Obi, the journalist par excellence and former Editor-in-Chief of  then influential African Concord magazine, who wrote in 1985, that if you want to appropriately measure and comprehensively capture how every country of the world works or wobbles, you must fervently direct your search to the national teams of all countries, globally. 

Obi noted that  the English national team  reveals the best of England in international diplomacy as the Three Lions were usually neatly dressed, sparkling with  a gale of honour and discipline even in the face of a cruel and agonizing defeat. Recall that the British Empire founded by the English  struck an Olympic gold in this art. 

The award winning journalist, further stated in clear terms that the Azurris of Italy represent the true essence of power and might whenever victory is at stake. Mind you, the Roman Empire that thrived on might, power and war as the ultimate weapon of diplomacy has its roots in modern day  Italy, whose capital Rome was equally once the capital of Roman Empire as well 

Talking about the beautiful brutality of the German Machine as the Germany national football team is known and addressed, the respected journalist explained that the former World Cup champions neither shoes mercy nor sympathy when it concerns  forcefully knocking down opponents for the simple reason of clinching a victory. Of course, Adolf Hitler's infamous atrocities prior and during the World War II are still very much discussed till today. It's same with Germany in football at the national scene. 

Coming to Nigeria, the erstwhile editor wondered how the world would ever periscope Nigeria using the same standards in the foregoing analysis. According to him, Nigeria's compelling and troubled complexities were obviously readable in the Super Eagles of Nigeria as well as her other undergrade teams. 

In 1985, the Golden Eaglets lifted the maiden edition of the FIFA U - 17 World Cup in China beating Germany in the finals 2 - 0. Still in 1985, the Flying Eagles finished third in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in USSR. 

Yet, in the same 1985, the Eagles, playing some of their worst games in history, failed horribly to qualify for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico after loosing undignifiably to Tunisia. In the same 1985, the Eagles posted what could be regarded as both a horrendous and horrific outing in the African Nations Cup qualifiers. Zambia knocked out Nigeria in the 1986 Egypt Nations Cup Finals in the qualifiers played in August in 1985! It was as shocking as it was irritating. 

Now, in the just ended Nations Cup Finals in Cote D'Ivoire, most Nigerians and indeed African football pundits, never gave the Eagles any chance. Just as Obi said about the Eagles -  unreliable and inconsistent - Nigeria, predictably, started on a shacky note by registering a 1 - 1 all draw against lowly rated Equatorial Guinea. After that, the Eagles seemed to have mastered the art of winning by scoring less goals and so, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Angola and South Africa bowed to Nigeria, a team lacking a formidable defence, suffering from midfield disaster and without any clear cut attacking strategy other than the skill potentiality of the of the front men. 

When eventually a crucial Eagles - Elephants final was made possible, Nigerians of all walks of life gleefully forgot that their darling team was a composition of 11 men, each playing with determination and natural talent rather than the required team work, cohesion and discipline that overwhelm opponents and make winning easy. 

After Eagles' expected victory against Cameroon, Nigerian football fans developed a sudden love and started following the team with a crude and blurred passion of patriotism. In the process, no one remembered the technical and tactical ineptitude of the foreign technical adviser from Portugal. 

Ridiculously, the confidence my countrymen and countrywomen reposed in the otherwise kill joy Eagles grew in heaps and bounds until after the fall!