The taste of victory is sweet! Yes very sweet and Nigerian football lovers collectively experienced this great taste on the night of Saturday the 21st of June 2014, as the Super Eagles of Nigeria ended the country’s 16-year wait for a victory at the FIFA World Cup when they defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1-0.
From Emmanuel Emenike to Osaze Odemwingie, from Vincent Enyeama and even to the much-maligned Joseph Yobo, the Eagles did themselves, Nigerians and Africa proud, as they gave their all on the field of play and battled to a victory which stands them in good stead to qualify from their group to the second round – another feat which last occurred 16 years ago.
The build up to the match was greeted with mixed feelings by Nigerian football enthusiasts, as a section of fans had written of the chances of the Eagle after their abject display against Iran, while other fans were filled with enthusiasm, stating that the Eagles always rose up to the occasion when the chips are down.
Immediately the match kicked off, it was obvious to all that whatever the outcome, nobody would criticise the Eagles for their efforts, as they were all over the Bosnians in the early minutes and as a reward for their early pressure, the Eagles were one goal up before the Bosnians knew what hit them.
Emmanuel Emenike powered past Emir Spahic on the right before finding Odemwingie, who shot through the legs of his Stoke team-mate Asmir Begovic to score.
The Super Eagles absorbed intense pressure from the Bosnians throughout the second half, but counter attacked dangerously with Emenike in particular constantly bullying the Bosnian defence.
The Eagles had a little scare when with seconds of injury time remaining, Edin Dzeko of Manchester City scuffed a shot which Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama deflected onto the post and away to safety, confirming that he gods of football were Nigerians on the night.
With their victory, the Super Eagles have brought back joy to the faces of Nigerian sport lovers. There is renewed optimism, hope has sprung anew and Nigerian fans can dare to dream again.
Go Super Eagles!
Damilola Orehin is a freelance creative writer with interesting opinions and analysis of sports, entertainment and social issues. He has written on several established print and online platforms and he showcases his deep-rooted passion for a wide variety of sports at tecmosports.blogspot.com.
Follow him on twitter @Kundammyby