Tuesday, January 26, 2021



Swaziland v Nigeria: A ‘preview’ by non-soccer enthusiasts

Swaziland v Nigeria: A ‘preview’ by non-soccer enthusiasts
November 12
16:06 2015

Football is a sport everybody can watch and many can play and talk about.


But Babatunde Omoju, a lecturer with Maritime School in Oron, Akwa Ibom state, is not one of the “everybody” and “many”. He’s not a fan of “the beautiful game”.

Omoju, though, revels in the company of non-enthusiasts like Osondu Umeobi (an electrical engineer) and Dare Akeredolu (a mechanical engineer).

Welcome to their world as they “preview” the game between Swaziland and Nigeria at Somhlolo National Stadium – a 20,000-capacity all standing arena – in Lobamba on Friday.


Babatunde Omoju

Dare Akeredolu (real name) and Osondu Umeobi (not real name) do not want their faces and name (in case of Osondu) revealed.

What’s the nature of the match between Swaziland and Nigeria?

Tunde: No idea.


Dare: I don’t know.

Osondu: I really don’t know much about the game, but maybe it has to do with African Cup of Nations or World Cup qualification.

Moderator: It is the second round stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Who did Swaziland eliminate before setting a date with Nigeria?


Dare: I really don’t know.

Osondu: Ahhh! How could I possibly know? I no know that one ooo…

Tunde: I don’t know ooo…

Moderator: They beat Djibouti 8-1 on aggregate to book this date with the Super Eagles.



What about Nigeria?

Osondu: No idea at all!

Tunde: No be Mali?

Dare: I don’t know.


Moderator: Nigeria drew bye to the next round.

Which city in Nigeria will host the second leg of this encounter?

Osondu: No idea, man! Hey sorry o, I’m failing badly. If I were to guess sha, I would say Uyo.

Dare: Abuja?

Tunde: Port Harcourt. That is an expo from you. Remember you told me you could travel to cover the match.

Moderator: Yes, Port Harcourt will host the return leg on Tuesday, November 17.

What will happen to the winner over two legs?

Tunde: Will qualify for the Nations Cup nau!

Dare: The winner will go on to the next level.

Osondu: The winner progresses to the next round.

Moderator: Indeed, the winner will progress to the next level, erm, round!

What’s the current FIFA ranking of Swaziland and Nigeria?

Osondu: I think Nigeria is 59. Swaziland, I have no clue.

Dare: Dunno ooo…

Tunde: Come on, how do you expect me to know that, ehn?

Moderator: Yes, Nigeria dropped from 52nd position to 59th. Swaziland are ranked 130.


Nigeria senior national team is called the Super Eagles. What is Swaziland’s?

Tunde: Chai, trying to recall, but it is hard now. Saw it on TV days ago. Sorry, don’t remember.

Dare: Super Swazis? (General laughter)

Osondu: No idea!

Moderator: The nickname of the Swaziland national football team is the Sihlangu Semnikati which means the “King’s Shield”!

What was the result the last time both countries met?

Dare: Dunno o…

Osondu: Honestly, I have no clue.

Tunde: No idea ooooo…

Moderator: They are meeting for the first time at this level.

Predict the result of both legs.

Tunde: As a patriot, Nigeria will win 2-0 in Swaziland and Port Harcourt.

Dare: Nigeria will win 2-0 in Swaziland and 1-0 in Nigeria.

Osondu: Nigeria will win 1-0 in Swaziland and 3-1 in Nigeria!

Before you laugh at their answers, let’s hear their stories.

Naturally, the first question is: Why are you not interested in football?

Tunde: The hype of the Premier League and its superimposition over and above our domestic football made me lose interest in football.


Tunde obviously didn’t see this goal

Dare: I am interested in playing football but not interested in watching the game nor learning about clubs and championships because I think it is boring.

Osondu: I can’t really say. I just can’t stand watching people passing around a ball and running up and down to no avail for so long. Maybe if players were able to score many more goals per match it would be something I could watch and follow.

Was there any time you almost became a fan of football?

Osondu: I have never been a fan or nearly a fan.

Dare: Yes, in my teenage years, I played football every evening after school, with several friends in the neighborhood and I would have become a football fan if I had more time playing, but we had to move house.

Tunde: I was a fan of football back in the days when our local league was good. When clubs like IICC, Stationery Stores, Rangers et al captivated everyone.

Can you share any experience where your dislike for football almost counted against you?

Tunde: I visited a friend during an Ileya holiday a few years back. He’s also a non-football fan. Behind his car at the car park were young men who were doing bull fighting with their rams. Each ram was given an English club name – Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U. The young men who took turns to bet on the winning ram were so engrossed with their sport that they didn’t notice that the rams were heading towards my friend’s car. At about that time my friend and I came out to the car park and sensing what damage the “sport” could cause his car, we tried to caution them. One of them who appeared to be the leader approached us while chewing gum and told us in an offhanded manner that there was no problem, that after all he was certain that we too belonged to one of the sporting clubs at least. As my friend and I told him we were no English Premiership fan, his hitherto carefree mien immediately turned to disgust followed by exasperation, and then this statement: “You mean you guys don’t like football, and you think you are living!” I felt thoroughly insulted and wanted to answer the rude lad back, but my friend restrained me. Even as we drove off this lad pointed at us and made hearty jest of us with his sporting mates. To him and his friends, we were neither living nor existing without football!

Osondu: I can’t remember anytime my dislike or non-love of football has cost me. Maybe it’s because even though I don’t like or watch football, I follow all kinds of news (including football news) over the Internet, etc. and so I always manage to know a bit of what’s going on and I can easily make or follow conversations about football.

Dare: I was once chatting at a group dinner with friends and I did not understand a word of what they were saying because they were only talking of Arsenal, Wenger, Stoke and Manchester – words which made no sense to me.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

Manchester’s Big Two

Which sports do you like and why?

Osondu: I love Formula 1, Moto GP and Athletics. I basically love speed and racing. I love the art of racing and watching one person or motor outrun another.

Dare: Rugby because it is a full contact game. I love full contact games.

Tunde: I am no fan of any particular sport anymore because they are all about worshipping American and European sporting heroes and heroines. Few, if any of our own sons and daughters are on global sporting stage.

What can you say about people who follow the game religiously?

Tunde: To me, for people who earn their living from following the game religiously, it’s okay. But for diehards of foreign leagues without any commercial interests at stake, I believe they are suffering from modern-day colonial enslavement. These are the people who will replace their TV sets every two years or so in order to enjoy seeing their “players” play better; who will never fail to renew their monthly DSTV subscription even when they haven’t left upkeep allowance for their wives at home; these are young unemployed Nigerians who by all means will find the cash to watch their favourite clubs at the viewing centers but who may not have enough to do job search; these are Nigerians who remember the latest entrants into their clubs and how much they earn but who don’t know what is our current inflation rate or the current price of Nigeria’s crude oil in the international market or the naira’s exchange rate to the dollar, or the latest unemployment figures from the Bureau of Statistics. In a frenzy of self-delusion, they will personalise every event happening in their club just as if they are the club owners or their main financiers. You will hear statements like: “I’m selling that Mikel Obi….I’m buying Ronaldinho…” Sad, sad, sad! Football doesn’t develop nations; science, technology and industrialisation based on sound economic planning do!

Osondu: I really find it strange why people love football so much, but I ultimately think of them as being the same as myself – fanatic of other sports!

Dare: They have a right to enjoy what makes them happy so long as they do not get in my way or discuss same with me.

So where were you when the Super Eagles won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013?


Dare: What date was that, please?

Moderator: February 10, 2013.

Dare: Don’t remember where I was. Don’t remember if there was a match then.

Tunde: I watched the first half of the African Nations Cup final 2013. I went to do other things during the second half, heard of the final result from friends. It’s an African show, and I was glad Nigeria won.

Osondu: I can’t remember, but I can tell you I didn’t watch any of the matches in the tournament.

To wind them up, I cheekily asked: So, are you guys going to watch both legs of the match between Nigeria and Swaziland?

Unlike in the national assembly, the “nays” have it this time!



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