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For those following my series on the African Nations Championship, last week I focused on Ejike Uzeonyi, I’m sure many might be calling me a soothsayer; I’m sorry to disappoint you on that perception. I will describe the incredible comeback as a vindication of some of the research and work being put in to discover some talents that stand a chance of making it to Brazil for the World Cup. The victory of the Super Eagles cannot be over-emphasised; starting from the passion and incredible fitness shown by the players, to the psychological work done by the chief coach Steven Keshi, down to the four incredible goals scored. It reminds me of the inspiration Kanu Nwankwo gave the Atlanta Olympic Eagles against Brazil, where the team came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the match by the same scoreline. Yet, it is not time to start celebrating the title as there is still one ‘great’ Ghanaian team, a hurdle which the Eagles must surpass to stand a chance of the title. The rivalry between the Super Eagles and the black stars of Ghana has been intense spanning the last half century. The Super Eagles, ironically, have always come out as underdogs when it plays Ghana. One still wonders with the size and population of Ghana not up to half the size of Nigeria, what it is that gives Ghana the spirit against Nigeria? A friend of mine puts the answer thus; “Because they (Ghana) have lived with us, known our strengths and our weaknesses, they have moved on to explore our weaknesses at any given chance.” Well, is there any better way to put it? This clash sets up a wonderful avenue to ascertain if Nigeria can climb over the dungeon dominated by Ghana or eat the humble pie.  

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This article was first published on 28th January 2014


Martins Okafor is a Sports Writer for Connect Nigeria. He has been a sport buff for years, following stories and development in leagues and international competitions. His interest led him to writing stories – reporting on sporting events. He has superior interest in soccer, but knows much about other sports. He plans to have a blog and to advance in sport journalism. You can email him at: obimartins85 [at]

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