Watching the ongoing World Cup and seeing how the likes of Saudi Arabia and Japan have chalked up famous victories against more formidable opponents, just tells you that for a people to scale new heights, they need to have the belief that they can do the unimaginable. Barrack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope summed this up, as did Mohammed Ali when he said: “The will must be greater than the skill.”
 It is unfortunate that Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon all lost their opening World Cup matches when none of them should have. Neither of them was out-played but alas, it appeared that they all lacked the belief that they could win those matches
 In contrast, out North African brethren Morocco and Tunisia managed to chalk up draws. They showed a resilience which the sub-Saharan African teams lacked and make no mistake about it, such fine margins are very important at this level
 When I look at the way teams like Wales, Poland, Belgium and South Korea got something out of matches in which they were dominated and deserved to lose, you have to ask yourself where we Africans are missing out as a people
 It is time for Nigeria to grow up and take her place on the list of mature countries and nowhere is this more pertinent than on the football pitch where we have shown that we can compete with some of the best in the world. Our next sports minister should assume office with the slogans: “Winning the World Cup during my tenure” and “Hosting the World Cup on our lifetime.”
 Our national team the Super Eagles have been on the verge of achieving greatness for about two decades now but at no stage have they really shown that they are set to join the elite band of sides that have won the World Cup before. We may dazzle, flatter to deceive and now and again come up with brilliant results but are nowhere near as good as the likes of Brazil, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Argentina or Spain. In 2026, we have to make a stand and say – The buck stops here!
 If we want to make this quantum leap, it is time among other things to work on our own unique brand of football and start selling it as a global brand. Brazil plays Samba Football, the Dutch gave us Total Football and Spain gave us Tika-Taka and I believe it is time for Palm Wine Football to make its way up there with them. Nigerian football is based on pace, quick counter-attacks, physicality and athleticism and it is now time to turn this into a global brand.
 Among other things, it is time the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) packages this Palm Wine Football into a global brand as Rinus Michels did with Total Football and let it sell like a premium product. Can you just imagine how many jerseys, kits, and memorabilia the NFF would sell globally if it could attract neutrals to fall in love with Nigerian football? Back in the 1990s when the likes of Okocha, Kanu, Findi, Taribo, Amokachi, Oliseh, et al wooed the world, it was common to see our green-white-green jerseys being worn by Europeans. This will fund our football development
 All we need on top of wining is an appealing kit that fans will be happy to go out and purchase. No one wants to wear a kit that looks awful, so Nike need to be keyed into the agenda as well. Personally, I would go for a unique green version of Croatia’s jersey. Make it our iconic kit
 We maybe on the cusp of something historic here. Just imagine what good it would do for our national psyche if we could sell a brand of football to the international community. The feel good factor would almost certainly spread throughout every other aspect of our national life and serve as a catalyst for economic regeneration.
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