EAGLES, SIASIA ALMOST KILLED ME – COL. AMINU
October 8, 2011, would remain indelible in the memories of Nigerians whose hearts pumped at an increased rate for the duration of the Nigeria versus Guinea Africa Nations Cup 2012 qualifiers, and with the game ended at 2-2, it was obvious that Nigeria had missed out from being part of the fiesta billed for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The result left many fans of the Super Eagles dejected, and some of them, in anger, called for the head of Coach Samson Siasia, and went further to call for the resignation of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board.
One man, who did not have an opportunity to watch the game, but monitored proceedings, is former Nigeria Football Association (NFA) Chairman, Col. Abdulmumuni Aminu (retd), who told Sunday Sunsports that the near misses of the Eagles in that encounter against the Syli Nationale of Guinea almost gave him a heart attack.
'I was as expectant as any other Nigerian and wishing every moment that we would end the match on a winning note, but at last, the result turned out to be a heartbreaker. In fact, I almost had a heart attack given the result of that match. I felt really bad that we could not make it to the Nations Cup 2012,' Col. Aminu said.
'Do you know that two days before the match I had requested for a ticket to the match, and when I got to Abuja, it was not available anymore. I hoped endlessly that the boys would play well and win at the end of the day, but it did not happened. I felt sick that the Eagles did not rise to the occasion when so much was expected of them even with the heavy incentives that was put before them. I had to get a hold of myself in the aftermath of the match. It was very disappointing to say the least.'
Col. Aminu, who is regarded as one of the most enterprising chairmen of the NFA had in France '98 World Cup competition, ordered bonus payments of $8,000 each to the Nigerian players, despite losing to Paraguay in the last group match of the competition, called on the football house to spare Coach Samson Siasia to enable him learn from his mistakes.
'The inability of the Super Eagles to be part of the 2012 Africa Nations Cup should not be heaped on Siasia alone. We have fundamental problems and we need to restructure before we can move forward. Let's rebuild the structures of our football first to make it better. Let no one try to compare us with Egypt and Cameroon that also did not qualify for the Nations Cup because their football records as far as the Nations Cup is concerned is far better than our.
We need to look inward to better the development of the game,' he said. Nigeria was sent out of the Africa Cup of Nations after being held to a 2-2 draw by Guinea in Abuja. After Ismael Bangoura gave the visitors a second-half lead, Nigeria seemed to have turned it around with goals from Obinna Nsofor and Ikechukwu Uche. But Ibrahima Traore's goal deep into the stoppage time ensured Guinea's progress and meant Nigeria failed to qualify for the first time since 1986.
Nigeria would be absent from the competition for the first time since 1998 after being banned from the finals for quitting the 1996 edition for political reasons. The Super Eagles went into the match needing to win 1-0 or by two clear goals should Guinea have scored, to book her place in the Equatorial Guinea/Gabon Nations Cup 2012.