Before the start of the World Cup in South Africa, many world cup 2010 betting pundits in Africa thought Nigeria were one of the continents best hopes for success.
It all went wrong though, after managing only one point in their group, they exited at the first hurdle. This has prompted the Nigerian President to suspend the national team from international competition for two years.
President Goodluck Jonathan hopes the somewhat drastic measure will give his country time to reorganise their football. Sepp Blatter had already come out to warn country’s governments from interfering in football matters may result in FIFA taking action.
On the pitch it just never happened for Lars Lagerback’s team in Group B. After losing bravely to Argentina 1-0 in their first match, they then lost against Greece in a game where any world cup free bet on them looked safe until Sani Kaita was sent off.
A last match draw against South Korea gave them their only point, Yakuba spurned the chance of victory, when he produced one of the worst World Cup misses in its history. Argentina and South Korea progressed from the group and Nigeria went home. Kaita has been the subject of death threats since his country’s early exit.
It remains to be seen whether the Nigerian players will stick around on the international scene. Players like Yakubu, Martins and John Obi Mikel may just choose to focus on their club sides until the country’s government stop messing around with the football team.
All the self-imposed ban will do is hold the country back further. Regular competition will improve the squad and help develop the next generation. This move could take Nigeria years to recover from.