As Nnamdi Oduamadi’s fierce strike flew into the net, the small army that watched the game with me, rose up in loud, wild celebrations.
I sat still. I’m not a unpatriotic Nigerian. I simply don’t applaud mediocrity. And that is what the Super Eagles served us for the entire duration of the game.
The term complacency is often overused in football circles, but it is what it is – you are as good as your last game. The African champions thought they would steamroll over the Kenyans, just because they felt they could, especially with the fact they were playing at home.
Credit to the Kenyans. They are notches below any randomly picked Nigerian team, but they didn’t book flights down here to be intimidated – the pride of lions in Nairobi could just that. And in the 37th minute, Francs Kahata composed himself and curled a delightful free kick into Vincent Enyeama’s top corner. Cue pandenmomium and shockingly, more cluelessness.
We missed Emmanuel Emenike badly. Obafemi Martins didn’t do enough to impose himself in the game. Onazi was terrible in the middle. He dithered on the ball and when it left his feet, it found an eager player in a red shirt, launching a counter attack. Victor Moses was too casual, not the tricky, fearful forward that we adored at the Africa Cup of Nations. Where Mikel Obi was sluggish and lacked invention, Victor Wanyama drove his team on.
I think the Kenyans should have won, just for the sake of rude awakening – and they almost did, but for woeful finishing.
I was not the only one who sat still after the game. Keshi looked on in horror, as his team trudged off the pitch. These were not his warriors, who played with flair and determination in South Africa.
We can only be thankful that we still top the group. There is still a long road ahead to Brazil.