Nigeria's World Cup Kaitastrophy

Nigeria's World Cup Kaitastrophy

Jun 19, 2010, 7:33 PM |

Sani Kaita has developed a sudden notoriety that he never dreamed of. No doubt it will vanish as soon as he scores a few goals on the football pitch, such is the way of sports. What will linger though is the new category of kaitaisms he has added to the Nigerian lexicon some of which were unveiled on this newspaper’s website.

Thanks to Daniel, posted on Friday June 18th we have kaitastrophe with the resultant kaitatclysmic consequence of dropping out of the World Cup in the first round. Barring an unkaitastic (yours truly) performance and with some intervention from higher powers we may yet make it, but the chances are looking pretty anorexic, or should I say, have a touch of the kaitaesque. Come to think of it, that would be just the term to describe a groom not showing up at the wedding: tori don kaita.

Courtesy of a text sent to me by a friend the morning after the nightmare, we also have more complex definitions of the term as in, a kaita, used in reference to a man who single handedly hinders the hope of his country for reasons best known to him. More expansively kaita can also be used as a synonym for verbs like jeopardise, hinder, sabotage, disrupt, antagonise. An example of usage would be: don’t kaita what we have been building for 11 years, in one day.

Yes the game that started off on such a high note suddenly soured and things just went from bad to worse. You could taste the depth of the disappointment on the faces of the commentators, hear it in the posted comments on 234NEXT, and see it in the dejected eyes of the fans at the stadium.

Ditto South Africa, the dawn that followed their loss rose on a day of mourning. Bafana Bafana turned out to be an inexperienced team, unable to muster the spirit to play from behind.

One thing struck me, it was the eternal hoping (against hope many of us would add), that Nigeria would really rise to what it is capable of. And this is not simply a matter of football. The world really does understand us. In a contest where there is no mid range of emotions, people wanted us to succeed, regardless of whether we had come prepared. In fact the only question was, why wouldn’t you come prepared to a showcase event?

Cannot remember who it was on Thursday morning that said every African team at this World Cup is playing at home. There are fans that decided from outset that they have six teams in the Cup and will line up behind each as they advance.

The groccer at my supermarket in Johannesburg had pinned his hopes on Nigeria. He had no idea that Shuaibu Amodu had been sacked and Lagerback hired three months to kickoff. A black South African, his first disappointment was because he had hoped to see an African coach among the panoply of white faces. His mouth fell open when I tried to explain why he should not be more hopeful of a hastily cobbled, unprepared, uncommitted, team; that was a product of an uncommitted football association; which itself was evidence of an uncommitted and corrupt leadership. I did not know I should also have added unfit physically, as well.

But we truly are how we play. South Africans take heed; the rot starts from the top and it seeps down to everything. It tarnishes our patriotism and commitment to the country, and that runs into our self-belief and desire to go after every ball and rally to the goalkeeper. Thank goodness Vincent Enyeama knew why he came.

As to the gaggle of freeloading leaders who cannot make the connection between their fat salaries and the lack of facilities for training the players who provided the excuse for their junket, it was ever thus. Our contingents to Olympic games in the past have always been overwhelmed by state “officials” in our government for the leaders by the leaders mentality.

Nigeria truly is endlessly fascinating, endlessly endowed. In the midst of our carping we have real talent and commitment, people who will go all out, and fans who will forget the past heartburn and cardiac arrest to hope against hope.

Wouldn’t it be so much simpler, as Salisu Suleiman says, not to steal and bribe, and stick to the tried and true, building from the ground up and focusing on a single goal?

This business of fits and starts is wearying and counter productive and we know full well that we are tired of it; so tired in fact that we have no rational explanation for why we persist in it. Ask the man of the moment if he can account for what he was thinking when he raised his spikes.

Kaitastic Kaitaclysmic Kaitastrophe

Written by Amma Ogan


20 June 2010.