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Nigeria Failed to Qualify for Africa Cup of Nations: What’s Next for the Team?

A guest post by Phil Oscarson
For the second time in a row, the Africa Cup of Nations will be celebrated without Nigeria, a National Team that once held a lot of promise in terms of international football. The fate of the Super Eagles was sealed by means of a contested match against Egypt in early September as fans were left deeply disappointed by similar failures by the U-17 and U-20 Nigerian squads to qualify for international tournaments.
It took a single equalizer goal by Mohamed Salah to leave Nigeria out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament that will feature National Teams that were once considered to be unworthy of matching up against Nigeria. Uganda and Burkina Faso were pleasant surprises during the qualifying stages, and they deserve to take the place of the Super Eagles, who were unable to capitalize on the advantage given to them by Chad, a National Team that could not continue to qualify because they lacked the funds to participate.

The ill-fated match in Alexandria culminated in extra playing time and a goal by Ramadan Sobhy. Heartbreak rang out across Nigeria while some clubs in the English Premier League were relieved to know that stars such as Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho will not be called up by their national team.

An International Football Drought for Nigeria
Fans of the Super Eagles are now wondering what will happen to international football efforts in their country. There was much discussion at the national level during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a very nice football fan from Japan took pity on the Nigerian squad after learning that they were strapped for cash during the Summer Games.
As reported by the BBC, the Nigerian Olympic Football Team faced major difficulties even before the matches got underway. Hopes were high for Nigeria to bring back gold; their U-23 team was nicknamed Dream Team VI, but they could not even reach Brazil initially due to lack of funds. The team was stranded at the Atlanta International Airport and barely made it on time to debut against Japan in a frenzied match that the Eagles won 5-4. This situation caught the attention of Japanese surgeon and football fan Katsuya Takasu, who promised a handsome cash bonus to Nigeria if they continued to perform well at the Olympics.
The Kenya Olympic Football Team eventually won bronze in Rio, and the honorable Dr. Takasu kept his promise. He boarded a plane in Tokyo and made his way to Rio, where he rewarded the Nigerian team with $390,000. Dr. Takasu achieved something else with his generosity and love of football: the world learned that the Nigerian football world is filled with unfulfilled promises. In the past, the Super Eagles have been promised cash and houses that never materialized.
The donation by Dr. Takasu was a topic of discussion in various 5dimes sportsbook reviews. Football fans agree that Nigeria has a lot of promise on the African and international stages; however, the National Team cannot rely on the support of the government.

Nigeria Will Try to Keep Football Alive
Although the national football organizers in Nigeria have failed to elevate the sport to the level that fans deserve, the country is getting support from other sources. Retired football star Mutiu Adepoju has become an ambassador of Spanish first division football, La Liga, in Nigeria. Adeopoju will promote La Liga so that it can be enjoyed on a similar level as the English Premier League. The Spanish League is pledging a donation of 4,000 footballs to be distributed among schools across the country.
Former National Team captain Nwankwo Kanu is teaming up with the Nigerian brewery Star, which has secured a marketing strategy with European football clubs. The Nigeria Professional Football League will also get support from Star.


Phil Oscarson is a lover of Sports, a Sports writer as well as a Sports analyst. 


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