Life seems to have stopped in Africa’s most populous nation, and the hearts of 180 million Nigerians are beating faster than ever, even as tension rises two hours ahead of a World Cup clash against Lionel Messi’s teammates.
Our correspondents in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, paint a picture of a country readying for overwhelming joy and laughter, following a reassuring victory against Iceland last week.
Ahmed Musa, the Nigerian soccer star is talking tough, promising to score, and giving a boost to Nigerians in need of good news.
In most countries in Africa, soccer is as addictive as hard drugs and strong beers. And Nigeria is no exception.
Today News Africa’s correspondents report that reactions across the length and breadth of Nigeria are as positive as ever.
People believe the Super Eagles have the capacity to overturn history today at the Saint Petersburg Stadium as they face Argentina for the 5th time in a world cup game, four of which Argentina had edged them out.
However, the friendly match played between the two countries before the tournament on the 14th of November 2017 saw a Nigerian side win Argentina 4 goals to 2. A repeat of that feat will see the Eagles fly to round two of the World Cup.
“I believe we have the mental and skillful capability to win the match” said Tomi, one Nigerian fan in Abuja.
“Since we have played and won them before, repeating such feat is not impossible. I believe Nigeria will go all out this time, beating out that sluggishness of their match again Croatia”.
“It is going to be a massive attack and defense for the Nigerian team, considering Argentina’s pattern of play,” Bola said.
Although analysts as well as different betting websites have given a victory to Argentina with odds as much as 5 or 6, they may not be far from the facts available even on FIFA’s website who ranked Argentina as the 5th best footballing Nation in the World as against Nigeria’s 48th position on the ranking table but we have seen great teams crumbling in this tournament and even the best of the best plays without goals.
Argentina Coach Sampoli said in Saint Petersburg yesterday: “We have to make our goal five games to reach the final. Tomorrow will be the first final”.