Twenty-two years ago, the 22-man squad of the Super Eagles in 1994, took Nigeria’s name to the peak of football in the world, by finishing 5th in fifa ranking (which till date is Africa’s highest fifa ranking), winning the Africa Cup of nations for the second time, as well as qualifying for the fifa world cup for the first time in 1994, it looks as if their achievement it looks as if serving the nation is not worth it.
The government of the federal republic of Nigeria made promises of landed property to the 22-man squad for doing the nation proud. Unfortunately, these promises are yet to be fulfilled, but that is not even the issue now. The main issue now is that the cold hand of death is visiting the 22-man squad who served Nigeria with their ‘heart’ and ‘might’, and the number has been reduced to 17 as at press time.
Uche Okafor, Rashidi Yekini, Thompson Oliha, Wilfred Agbonivbare and Stephen Keshi were all part of the team, but these men have rested in peace without receiving the promises that were made to them 22 years ago. If anyone had told them that they would not live to receive it, they would probably disagree to that.
Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was the captain of the team in 1994, his death which recently happened on June 8, 2016, officially made Austin Eguavoen who was his assistant then to take over leadership. Efforts have been made in the past to make these promises come to light, but it seems their efforts have fallen on deaf ear, or there seems not be any plan to fulfill these promises.
These men served Nigeria with their ‘hearts’ and ‘might’, but Nigeria failed to reciprocate by doing the needful as earlier promised to them. Certainly, members of the 1994 super eagles squad all have family responsibilities which they need to meet up with, they are not getting any younger.
The death of Stephen Keshi who was the captain of the team that achieved these feats in 1994, should be a turning point for the development of Nigerian football. But it should really start with fulfilling the promises which was made to them 22 years ago.