I just finished watching the African Cup of Nations in Ghana, and Egypt defeated Cameroon. I went back to look at the statistics in the last 24 years and I discovered something I would like to share with Nigerians. I choose 1984 as the starting point for my analysis because that was the first tournament I watched with conscious interest, and Nigeria lost 3-1 in the finals to Cameroon in Ivory Coast. I observed that there have being 13 tournaments since 1984, and both Egypt and Cameroon have won 4 each, which is a total of 8 (62% success rate by just two nations). Egypt got to the finals of the event four times and won it all (100% success rate), while Cameroon got to the finals five times and won it all, except for today, they lost to Egypt (80% success rate). Nigeria on the other hand, has been to the finals five times, but have only won once and lost three out of four of them to Cameroon (20% success rate). Why it then that Egypt, Nigeria, and Cameroon in recent times have had an average of four attempts in the finals of the tournament, but Nigeria has nothing to show for it? Could it be that Egypt and Cameroon are richer than Nigeria, are they a major nation on the continent than Nigeria or could it be that they have a culture of success and we simply do not?
In Nigeria, the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) never pays the local national coaches and players enough and on time like they do the White unqualified coaches, who usually come to Africa only to improve their resumes for better status. NFA usually tells the local national coaches to put the love of their country ahead of their justified mini-paychecks, because NFA wants to steal their paychecks or invest it for a while in their personal accounts. NFA always tells the local national coaches to accept inferior contracts or they will find someone else who can do better. NFA never sponsors local coaches or former soccer internationals for advanced coaching courses, so that they can come back and improve the local leagues. NFA is more interested in stealing the money and relying on a White man to perform miracles on the big day. Many people in charge in the NFA have never played the game or coached the game on any professional levels. Some do not even know the effect of weather and temperate on the human body, not to talk of what “head to head” rule means in football. We just found out that one man (Sani Lulu) choose Vogts as coach for Nigeria, and not the NFA board. While others are saying fire Vogts, Lulu is justifying why he must stay.
NFA Chairman, Sani Lulu, justifies in his reasoning that the Nigerian team was a young team, and that we lost to Ghana and Ivory Coast, two teams that went to the last World Cup. Did the victorious Egypt and Cameroon go to the last World Cup? How then did they get to the finals ahead of Sani Lulu’s team? Nigeria usually gives new coaches 3-6 months to prove themselves before extending their contracts, but Lulu gave Vogts a contract till 2010 without proving himself. A coach they spat on in Scotland for his failure and he was literally chased out of the Scotland not long ago. Is Lulu a thief, a traitor, or both? I ask because when people knowingly and secretly bring mediocrity, they do so to get paid under the table in exchange for gratitude at the expense of who they should be representing.
The foundation of national success is knowledge and the ability to utilize it honestly and truthfully to achieve a favorable outcome for the nation. It is obvious to all that the NFA lacks the knowledge to make Nigerian football successful and develop our local leagues and local coaches successfully. It is also very clear that the Nigerian populace also lacks the knowledge, determination, and discipline to bring about favorable outcomes for our children. After all, Nigerian leaders and the NFA board came out of the populace. If a man is a known thief, so are his wife, relatives, and children. This is because if they were different, they will either get him arrested or publicly disown him. If Nigerian leaders are failing in their duties, the same names ruling us every generation, and Nigerians are the global happiest people, then we are a society of repeated failures. I pray that God almighty and our ancestors encourage us to continue to celebrate and enjoy our failing culture until we can convince our children and the world that the few failures among us are afraid to take office because of the fear of the successful majority.