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The Lone Stars are no match


I am about to book my flight ticket to next January's African Cup of Nations.

I am looking forward to visiting South Africa again, to see how far the legacies of the 2010 World Cup have been established and entrenched in the country.

However, there is this irritating 'threat' coming from Calabar, venue of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria and Liberia.

How can Liberia ever be a threat to Nigeria in football? I can't understand all the hoopla!

I am writing this on Thursday night, two days before the match that has dominated the Nigerian media for weeks.

By the time you are reading this it is likely that the match that threatens to truncate my visit next January to South Africa will have been settled and the world will have returned to sanity, with the Super Eagles giving Liberia lessons on how to be respectful.

How could anyone consider even the faintest possibility that Liberia could defeat Nigeria in a football match played in Nigeria? I can't understand it. People are actually worried that the Eagles could lose here at home?

Nigeria and Liberia do not belong to the same planet in football. There is something about tradition in football. In the 13 outings Nigeria has had against Liberia at senior football level I read somewhere that the Lone Stars have won only once. That’s the tradition I am referring to.

I could not even immediately recall the first and only defeat the Eagles suffered until I was reminded it happened when Liberia had the best player in the world in its team, and the circumstances surrounding that defeat in Monrovia were shrouded in some 'mysterious' conspiracy. Need I say more?

It is like saying that Republic of Benin will defeat Brazil and win the World Cup in 2014. Forget it, it will not happen in the next 100 years! At least! Such things do not exist, just as the thoughts of Liberia beating Nigeria in Nigeria should never have existed in the first place given our history, and our football tradition with Liberia.

Take a look at the new Super Eagles team. In the absence of a few players that had become almost a fixture in the team in the past decade, the present Eagles are really a new team.

Joseph Yobo, perhaps Vincent Enyeama, Osaze Odemwingie, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Obafemi Martins, will all be missing from the team.

For those reading this on Sunday, the result of the match will show that my view on this match is not the product of arrogance, but fact. South Africa 2013, here I come!


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