If you know me well, you would know that I pride myself as being a massive football fan. Alongside Kanye West, its one of the things I'm most passionate about. Ask my Primary School buddies and they would tell you how many times I got into trouble for skipping homework just so I could play my football. In Class 5, I was banned from playing it for a whole term. At the time, you would have thought I lost a family member. It was like there was nothing to live for anymore. All of a sudden, school became dull. Till this day I'm at a loss understanding how I survived that restriction. As a child I was really emotional about my football. I remember crying at France 98 when Brazil didn't win against France. At the African Nations Cup in 2000 I cried when Nigeria lost on penalties to Cameroon in the final. I also cried during the 2001 FA Cup final when a Michael Owen double ruined my darling Arsenal's title intentions. There have been happy times too. Collecting the 500 naira made from a bet with my Uncle Bosun on who would win the 2002 World Cup. He thought England would and I was quite resolute that Brazil were going to trump every form of opposition. I remember going to the Barbershop and asking the Barber to replicate Ronaldo's hairstyle. Seeing my beloved Arsenal go the 2003/ 2004 season unbeaten is something I still boast about till this day.
The World Cup is here once again and the feelings I feel are pretty indescribable. Watching the Concert and Opening Ceremony has been a source of great excitement. Seeing Nelson Mandela and Femi Kuti in action have been major highlights. The best players and countries gathered within the same vicinity scheming on how to outdo each other is cause for joy. Every World Cup I always select that one team whom I support all the way. In 1998 it was Brazil, 2002; Brazil., 2006; France. The memory of Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Marco Materrazi is still fresh. Alongside Kanye West's Taylor Swift interruption its probably the most parodied image of the 2000s. At the Euro's in 2008, Spain were my team and they ended up winning the title. This time around my loyalties are split between my home nation and the Spaniards. However, I have a sneaky feeling Spain won't win it. I might be proved wrong. Dunga's Brazil is my tip although my affinity for the Barca/ Arsenal style of football ensures that Spain would still get my support regardless.
As for Nigeria, its my desire to be the President someday so you can understand why my patriotism takes my better part. Nigeria have this habit of disappointing. However, this does not shake my belief. If Nigerians don't support Nigeria, who will? Argentina represent opposition clearly slicker than your average. Some people think my belief that the Impossible is Possible is a sign of me being delusional. Like a passionate countryman would say "The same God that helped David take Goliath down, would help us take Messi and co down." Remember the miracles of Atlanta 96? Sunday Oliseh's goal against Spain at France 98( That's my earliest football memory)? Those are the things sweet dreams are made of. If we beat the Argies, one thing's for certain; I won't be surprised. And if we lose I also won't be surprised. I also foresee some serious underdog activity with the USA being my tip.
On that note, I wish you a memorable World Cup. Remember that it is being held in Africa... It is our time on the world stage. Be Excited.