Gold in the air,that is what former Abia State Governor,Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu sees as Super Eagles mark their Golden Jubilee at the Africa Cup Nations which is billed to open in South Africa. The Eagles debuted in 1963 conceding a basketfull of 10 goals.However,Kalu harped on a 10-year sequence that had showered luck on Nigerian soccer ever since.
He said,”Every 10 years since 1963,something good happened.In 1973,we won All Africa Games gold.In 1983,Nigeria won the Tessema Cup for the first,time which took the Flying Eagles to the country’s first FIFA Champioship,Mexico’83 and Stephen Keshi’s New Nigeria Bank Benin won the elusive WAFU Cup.In 2003,Golden Eaglets ruled the world in Japan,while Enyimba made history lifting the CAF Champions league in 2003.I am sure 2013,is for the Eagles again.”
The former governor was not done.”Imagine this,”he explained.”When the Eagles won their first Nations Cup in 1980,their captain was a central defender Christian Chukwu.When Keshi lifted the trophy in 1994,he was in the central defence even if he did not play in the grand finale.Now, you know Skipper Joseph Yobo’s position.Good enough,the trio would be in South Afrca.”
Crystal ball,maybe.Kalu continued with his predictions and similarities.,”Their is the letter ‘A’ Connection.Men who supervised sports at the Federal level in those years of Cup glory had ‘A’ as the beginning of their surname.Paulinus Amadike in 1980,Sylvanus Akinwumi in 1994 and today, Bolaji Abdullahi.And i hope you know that Keshi and his Assistant Sylvanus Okpala also won the Nations Cup as players,”Kalu added.
Missing the Nations Cup is also a blessing in disguise.”After 1963,the Eagles did not qualify until Ethiopia ’76.They were in the final Classification that earned them a bronze,because for the first and only time,there was no grand-finale.After missing Egypt ’86,Manfred Hoener took them to Maroc’88,and got to the last two.In 1996 and again 1998,they were absent.When the team returned in 2000,a golden silver followed us.Ask Victor Ikpeba and the Tunisian referee.In South Africa,after missing the last edition,all i see is the Cup,”he added.