I’d arrived in Austria 2 days before the game hoping I’d have enough time to take in the fabled dramatic summits and mountainous landscapes . . .i was still hoping
I made it to the stadium though, this was the Super Eagles last tune up game before the World cup proper and because I was worried about the recent results I needed to see the team close up having missed the England game
As I sat in the stands a young European probably English sat beside me and waved when he noticed my green and white scarf round my neck
He wore the fabled Nike Jersey with Iwobi proudly inscribed at the back
“Oh I see you got one” I said cheerfully
Yes I did mate he replied smiling, Super Eagles all the way! Go Naija!
“I laughed” he continued
“Been a follower of the Super Eagles for a while actually, I’m an Arsenal fan you see, loved Kanu with a passion, Iwobi’s grown on me now too” he said
“I think you’re arguably the most exciting team to come out of Africa” he added
“Thank you” I said
I felt proud but my pride gave way to worry as I recollected the England match
After we had more or less breezed through the qualifiers many (myself included) had endorsed this new team as “the team”
But since then, the Eagles did not look the same, instead appearing like a jaded uninspired team totally bereft of ideas on the pitch
The same was playing out again before my eyes as the Eagles had just gone behind to the Czechs
This couldn’t be the Super Eagles expected to cause ripples and upsets in Russia
Where was the excitement…. the skill?
Where was the team that beat the mighty Argentina ?
My new friend was giggling besides me amused as a fan also clad in the green jersey with Victor Moses’ name inscribed on the back had run onto the pitch, temporarily disrupting the game
He belted out loudly for all to hear, “ the lads obviously a Chelsea fan !”
The game ended and yes we’d lost again and more to it, we hadn’t been cohesive, had been poor again at defending set pieces and had barely threatened on goal
As we shuffled out of the Stadium I felt the need to apologize to my new friend like I and the Super Eagles had let down an important fan
I did but he waved it away
Ain’t worried mate he said still full of gait and excitement
Those weren’t the Super Eagles we just watched … just some lads in the Jersey anxious to come out of these warm up games unscathed . . . Wait till the competition proper mate then you’ll see the Real Super Eagles
I smiled . . What a fellow . .. his optimism was infectious . .. I whistled as I went back to my hotel . . . Suddenly believing myself . . .yes we’d definitely see the real Super Eagles in Russia!