The 2018 FIFA World Cup has started. Our prayer is that you make us proud and make history happen for Nigeria and Africa this year. Whatever be the outcome, make sure that you show the world the ‘NAIJA SPIRIT’ – the indomitable spirit that is also the spirit of the eagle.
You are called ‘Super Eagles’ for a reason. There is an eagle on the Nigerian coat of arms, which symbolises strength. Many countries use the eagles as a symbol of strength and power. The eagle in your name also symbolises STRENGTH and POWER. You must always remember that throughout this tournament.
The eagle is king of the birds. Other birds, such as the parrot, the pigeon, the turkey, the duck and the chicken do not come anywhere close to having the qualities of the eagle. Are you going to hang around pigeons and act like them? Are you going to strut around aimlessly and behave like turkeys or are you going to behave like the eagle?
Are you going to walk around and quack like a duck with little or no effect on your opponent or are you going to be courageous and use the storm created by your opponent to get the victory by soaring? Are you going to talk too much with little or no action just like the parrot? Or are you going to stay cool, calm and collected and demonstrate to all the great qualities you have? Are you going to play around like chickens constantly scratching and pecking the ground with little or nothing to show for it? Or are you going to have laser like focus as you play each game at hand and get the desired results you want just like eagles?
Remember that the eagle is the king of the birds and the master of the skies. In Russia, you must become the king of the teams and the master of the ball on every football pitch you step on to play in this tournament. I want to share with you and remind you of some of those unique qualities that make the eagle such an extraordinary bird. And just like the eagle, you, as individuals and as a team, must remember that you are also unique and extraordinary.
The eagle is focused, patient, calm, bold, calculating, passionate and energetic. It is courageous, fearless and tenacious. When there is a storm it flies high above it. Using the wind as leverage, it soars to mindboggling heights. It can fly 10, 000 feet above sea level. It is exceptionally graceful in flight. And it is a sight to behold. The eagle has immense strength in its wings and body. Super Eagles, as you play each match remember that you are just like the eagle and you must use any football storm brought your way to reach unimaginable heights in this World Cup.
Throughout the tournament you must be strategic thinkers and leverage on every wind of opportunity that comes your way to become the FIFA WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS you were born to be. In every match, as you kick the ball, you must remember to be calculating, fearless, focused, tenacious, calm, patient, passionate and energetic just like the eagle you are.
The eagle can see 340 degrees. It sees the wider picture that other birds don’t see. You must have a clear vision of what you are there to do at the World Cup. You must see the wider picture, which is about your country and Africa. We are counting on you all to have the powerful vision of seeing yourselves lifting up the WORLD CUP trophy in the finals. You must visualise the victory in your imagination.
The eagle is family-oriented and committed to its own. Similarly, you are a team and a family. You must be committed to each other and protect each other throughout this tournament and beyond. The older members of the team must be attentive to the needs of the younger and newer members of the team. Be deliberate and be there for each other.
Unlike the vulture, the eagle doesn’t eat dead things. It is particular about what it eats. Likewise, you must be extremely careful and particular about what you eat and drink while in Russia. You need to be exceptionally fit and healthy throughout this World Cup.
Be mindful, Super Eagles, that when your soar like the eagle you will definitely attract hunters. Be ready for them when they come. The negative hunters will come in from unexpected places like from your fans, your opponents, the referee, the linesman etc. Just beware and be ready for the hunters because they will come.
With every match you play, you have a lifetime of an opportunity and you must take advantage of that opportunity. Stay focused and stay strong, even if the match goes into extra time. Remember you are built to last just like the eagle you are. The eagle is designed to live on a higher and greater level. During this World Cup you must think, function, dream, play and score goals and win on a higher and greater level, just like the eagle you are.
Olaboludele Simoyan wrote in from Lagos