Nigeria’s golden era in football is about to be eclipsed and it might happen sooner than many realize.
The class of ’94 was a team of exceptional players that lite up the stage on the continent in Tunisia and the world at their debut World Cup.
Till date the Country yearns for players in the mould of Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George to mention but a few.
In their active years with the Super Eagles, their consistency truly made the team Super.
But for all their quality, that generation lacked the most essential ingredient to truly hit the heights that their talents could have reached with the national team.
In truth, with that potential the team won the Afcon but failed to cruise past the second round of the world cup in 1994 and yet with reinforcements still fell short in 1998.
It could be argued that on both occasions coaching and general organisation was a problem but, the biggest demon was the lack of Unity.
Fast forward to 2017 and another generation of Eagles is under construction.
The quality of coaching has improved – not greatly but enough to get by – and what the team lacks in a bunch of talent in Today’s football it makes up for in teamwork, Unity and generic bounding.
This internet age Super Eagles are building a solid bond on and off the pitch and it is organic not superficial.
Unassuming but solid, Gernot Rohr’s combo of men and boys have picked a world cup ticket with a game to spare and could be helped into the 2019 Afcon – despite a stuttering start to the qualifiers – thanks to the new format of 24 competing teams.
Let there be no delusion though, this team will earn its praise and unlike 2013 whatever laurel(s) they win it won’t be written off as just “LUCK”.
Noteworthy, there are standout quality players in the squad; by Today’s standards, and they will get their recognition if they haven’t already.
The best teams in the world are either built around one or two exceptional talents but exceptional teams are built on a philosophy and strong teamspirit.
What the class of ’17 Eagles is building on is the latter and it seems if the NFF can help it cruise on this course steady, they will eclipse the achievements of 1994 even if they don’t replace those individual names we’ll always adore.