From The Moxy, I kept the night hoping the Super Sand Eagles will nick a win over Iran. That hope was dashed as Nigeria lost 1-2 on penalties. Full time ended 4-4 and the game had to be decided by the lottery.
At the beginning of the year I had plans to be in Nassau to cheer the Eagles in flesh and blood but time and chance happened only for me to found on the North Sea instead of the Caribbean. Irrespective of my location, the Sand Eagles were on my mind and despite knowing how difficult it is for them to hold on to leads, I had hoped that they could scrap in to the quarterfinal. They have never crossed that point before.
Back in December 2016, Nigeria hosted the Beach Soccer AFCON and were beaten in the final by Senegal. The top two qualified to represent Africa in Bahamas. If you watched the team, you would see that they kept conceding goals almost immediately after they score. It was worrisome but the Sand Eagles some how made it to the final and Emeka Ogbonna was even voted MVP ahead of Senegal’s Babacar Fall. That was a surprise.
Prior to that BSAFCON, Abu Azeez made a U-turn and returned to the squad. He had earlier announced his retirement but I was surprised to see his name in the squad list. Has anyone asked him why he made a U-turn? His return may have even saved us some embarrassment in Bahamas. He emerged top scorer for Nigeria in the World Cup with 5 goals, three of which came in the opening 6-12 loss to Italy. The other two goals were against Mexico in the 5-4 victory.
Captian Isiaka Olawale failed to score a goal in the 2017 World Cup. I think it is time he calls it quits. He has been to every World Cup the Sand Eagles have qualified for. He scored 3 goals in each of those 4 World Cups. At 33, maybe he can say goodbye to the sands. He is our Beach Soccer Legend.
Kudos to the team though. You have put in your best and it is appreciated.
Away from the World Cup, Nigeria need to have a Beach Soccer League ASAP. We have been going to the World Cup since 2006 and we have not made a scratch from it. We can tie into the entertainment value of Beach Soccer and run a league. Lagos state can organize a Lagos Beach Soccer League. You don’t need so much to run this league. Take a cue from the BSAFCON in Victoria Island in December, it drew a lot of people. Imagine people spending their Friday nights on the Eko Atlantic beach watching Beach Soccer and having associated fun.
We need a Beach Soccer League in Nigeria. I think I will start one instead. Enough is enough.