In the world of football, the fans, often times regarded as the 12th man, are one of the most important people. They cheer their teams on, rejoice when the days are good and cry when the losses come around.
An empty stadium is heartache for players. This was made obvious by the game Barcelona had to play against Las Palmas behind closed doors. No fans, no fun. That’s how important they are.
Recently, there was uproar by fans of Nigerian football when the new FIFA ranking was released. After conquering Argentina and finishing the CAF World Cup qualifiers unbeaten, fans had expected that their darling team would move from the initial spot of 45th.
But alas! When the list was released, Nigeria slipped even further down the rankings to 50th place. This had so many fans wondering. The age-long question reared its ugly head yet again, “How does FIFA come up with the numbers that make this list possible?”
These and many more are some of the questions bothering on the minds of so many Nigerian football enthusiasts. How is it that after such amazing performances, they chose to demote the country on the standings?
This same standings is the reason why Nigeria has been seeded in Pot 4 for the World Cup draws coming up in December, setting the Super Eagles on a possible collision course with the likes of Brazil, France, Spain and co.
But what’s all the fuss about this new ranking? Whether they state it or not, Nigeria was one of the few sides that finished their World Cup qualifying campaign without tasting defeat. Whether the new rankings show it or not, the current squad trounced the current African champs on their way to Russia.
Yes, it hurts to see one’s favorite team wallow in the middle of a table where they should be rubbing shoulders with the high-ranking sides. But then again, who FIFA rankings epp?!
Whether we’re ranked 7th or 47th, it doesn’t change the fact that we will be playing on the biggest football stage next year. It doesn’t change the fact that Nigeria will be getting some big bucks for being a participant at the next World Cup.
So, the FIFA rankings can bother about themselves. We have a Super Eagles squad that can hold their own any day, anytime, anywhere. For those going on and on about this news, maybe it’s time to move on.
Thank goodness that the International break will be gone for a while. We can leave all that FIFA rankings news and focus on more interesting stuff like the Premier League, La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.
A reminder to FIFA: We (in this part of the world) remain unbothered by their rankings. Go on ahead and do what you want. Doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got the strongest team in Africa at the moment, a team that will comfortably compete with other big names in the world.
UP SUPER EAGLES!!