By Solomon Ojeagbase
Today was the landmark of our trip to Brazil, we finally got to watch a match live in Brazil at the Estadio Nacional, Brasilia. It was a glory moment as everybody around the stadium was filled with positive vibes Brazilians we’re shouting ‘Nigeria’ with the hope that we would defeat France for them and make the tournament easier for them to win.
But let us rewind back a bit to when we arrived Brasilia. We got to Brasilia on a cold Sunday afternoon from Sao Paulo where we first lodged. Brasilia is a beautiful city and the capital city of Brazil. If you have ever been to Abuja, Nigeria you will see some striking similarities. The tall buildings, Hotels well space out roads and very scanty city.
We lodged at the Hotel Casablanca which was 15 minutes walking distance from the stadium what a delight this was as some of our crew already went to see the stadium the night before the match. We went to a close by mall and there we watched the Costa Rica-Greece match. We all had something to talk about when we got back to our hotel.
The D’ day Monday June 30, 2014, Stephen keshi Eagles against Didier Deschamps Roosters. We all woke up early, did the necessary had dinner took some group photograph and headed to the stadium. To our greatest surprise everywhere was lighted up as we dorn our green and white jersey. People from other countries wanted to take photographs with us and the french team fans taunted us as we all laughed on our way to the stadium.
The Brazilian press interviewed us concerning the up coming match and asked about the current controversy in the Super Eagles camp where players refused to play because their bonuses were withheld. After the interview we got into the stadium took more photographs and checked in. We were scrutinized like we were at the airport boarding a plane. After the check, in we got into the main bowl, we sorted our seats and took more photographs.
As we all waited for the Eagles to come out to the pitch. Hugo Lloris came out of the dressing room to practice some goal keeping stunts. After which the other French team players came to the pitch from the dressing room. There was an arousing sound as they juggled the ball and did their warm-up.
Some few minutes after the Super Eagles came on the pitch Osaze Odemwingie waved to the crowd as the spectators made some noise for him. This was going to be the beginning of what will be an eventful day. After taking time out to practice the players went back into the dressing room and came out in their kits, filed out for the National Anthem of both countries. There was so much life in the stadium and the fans shouted Nigeria over and over again.
The match started with much energy, people around seeing the force the Eagles were commanding on the pitch predicted a win to the Eagles. The high point of the first half was when a goal by Victor Moses was disallowed to own goal. Sadly in the second half Ogienyi Onazi got injured and the game changed. Eagles went into relapse and started defending when they knew they needed a goal to move on to the next round. We all had our heart in our mouth as Valbuena and Giroud threatened our defense.
In the remaining twenty minutes of second half the game was so intense and it was a corner kick to France where Paul Pogba converted a missed fist pump on the ball into a goal. This singular act affected the Super Eagles composure and soon in extra time another corner kick was converted into a goal by substitute Griesman which was deflected by into goal by Super Eagles defender Joseph Yobo.
Even though the game ended with such a disappointing score line. the Eagles made it to the second round despite the selection bruhaha. Also the Eagles gave a good account of themselves. Osaze Odemwingie was outstanding in the match so also was Vincent Enyeama for his saves in the first half. Victor Moses was not himself so also was Emmanuel Emmenike who has been lacking confidence since the beginning of the tournament.
The Eagles need to count their losses, assess it and look beyond it. Next year we have the African Cup of Nations and if there has to be any good thing coming out of the Eagles in that tournament we need to start preparing now.