Not A Safari

South Africa's World Cup, as seen from New York City

the poor get poorer

My states are two: Nigeria and the United States. The latter has shown such little feeling for the spiritual essence of the game that my only real World Cup country is, as always, Nigeria. Americans players have become more and more technically competent, and I expect them to do well this year. But there doesn’t seem to be among American supporters the apt emotional vocabulary for the beautiful game. Even the word “soccer,” said in the American way, grates on my ear.

This leaves me with Nigeria, disorganized, passionate Nigeria, pleasantly surprising when facing giants, shockingly poor against minnows. So poor has Nigeria’s preparation for the World  Cup been that even Nigerians, never ashamed of a foolish optimism, are saying “You can’t use an ATM card to withdraw money from a piggy bank.” But I have been harboring contrarian hopes that Nigeria will shock the world, that the Super Eagles will navigate past Argentina, South Korea, and Greece, and win a spot in the next round.

Forget it. With the sudden ankle injury (the gods are being especially heavy-handed this year) to our only bonafide star, John Obi Mikel—aka John Mikel Obi, aka Obi John Mikel—Nigeria’s scant hopes have vanished.

Some hitherto uncapped Patroclus is taking Mikel’s place. And I’m offering my patriotism to the highest bidder.



Filed under: pessimism, ,

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