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Donít cry for me, Argentina

Posted by By Mike Awoyinfa on 2005/07/09 | Views: 234 |

Donít cry for me, Argentina


Nostalgia is not my forte. I donít look back. I wonít look back, lest I turn into a pillar of salt. Tears are not my portion. I wonít cry. So, donít cry for me. Donít cry for me, Argentina.

Nostalgia is not my forte. I donít look back. I wonít look back, lest I turn into a pillar of salt. Tears are not my portion. I wonít cry. So, donít cry for me. Donít cry for me, Argentina.

The battle has been lost and won. You have won and I have lost. The streets of Lagos are the streets of silence. Silence born out of defeat. Defeat that has triggered quiet anger and suspicion of foul play.

But Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital is brimful with scenes of jubilation and partying on the street. In your hands and atop an opened bus, you are probably carrying aloft the cup that ought to have been our cup.
Your jubilant multitudes are hailing your all-conquering boys as heroes, bringing back memories of when a younger, fledging Maradona won the cup for his country and from there went on to storm the global soccer scene with his genius.

But our boys are back home with mere consolatory prizes. Their heads are bloodied but unbowed. They may have lost but heroes still they are.
Everybody is praising them. For the first time in recent memory, Nigerians are coming together, united in defeat. Nobody is blaming our boys. Instead they are blaming FIFA and what they perceive as a grand plan to oust Nigeria from winning the kiddiesí World Cup.
Instead they are blaming it on a referee. Almost everybody is saying we nearly made it but for the referee who wickedly inflicted two penalties on us. Everybody is propounding a theory of conspiracy. That the people of white colour donít want the Holy Grail to go to the people of black skin. So a plot was hatched using the referee to play the Judas against usówe of the Dark Continent.

But the knowledgeable few among us say the referee is not to blame. Instead they are blaming our own naivety. The naivety of our boys against your Maradonic street smartness. Only you know how to dance your way inside the eighteen, waiting to be kicked so that you can simulate a fall.
From childhood, you have learnt this art of fooling the referee. Maradona got away with it against England. And he called it the Hand of God. Yet, it was his crooked hand that did the magic. Now, you have done it again. Against us. Twice, we fell into your trap and each time, the referee, like a hangman, inflicted the death penalty on us.

You have broken our hearts. Your star, Diego Maradona cheated on us many years ago at USA í94 taking drugs to play us, but thank God, he was exposed and sent off. Not after he had used his Maradonic tricks to score against us. I still remember Nigeria and Argentina were arguing over a questionable spot kick when quick like lightning, Maradona passed the ball to Cannigia. And before the referee knew it, it was in the net. A goal. Argentina 2, Nigeria 1. Ironically, it was the same Siasia who struck against Argentina and gave Nigeria the first goal against Argentina. I remember all that.
Yes, referees do make mistakes. I remember how Eguavoen escaped expulsion after fouling Claudio Cannigia, but thanks to a mistake by Swedish referee Bo Kovlsson who awarded Sunday Oliseh yellow card, with Oliseh crying vehemently to the referee that he was not the offender.

We have always had problems with defenders committing blunders in the eighteen box. I remember our present coach Augustine Eguavoen tripping Antonio Benarrivo in Boston to deny us a chance to beat Italy and enter the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Our defenders have always made us to cry.
But donít cry for me, Argentina. Hei, I am borrowing Donít Cry For Me, Argentina from Evita, the music by the English composer Lloyd Webber based on Eva Peron, the powerful wife of the dictator Juan Peron who once ruled your country like our own military generals and their powerful wives. Evita later became a movie featuring Madonna as the lead actress. Hei, did you watch Madonna on Live 8, clutching that Ethiopian girl who was the symbol of the Live Aid 20 years ago? I expected Madonna to sing her lovely version of Donít Cry For Me, Argentina but she sang something else: Like A Prayer.
Yes, our country needs prayers now to qualify for the next World Cup. Right now, we are in a mess. We are not like you, Argentina, who have already qualified. Chances are these are the same boys who are going to form the nucleus of the Argentine team in Germany. But as for Nigeria, we are locked in a miasma of doubt and uncertainty. We can only get there on the wings of prayers: praying that Angola would crumble for us to qualify. Just as we prayed the other time for Liberia to lose against Ghana for us to qualify for France í98.

We may have lost the junior World Cup to you but through your eyes we have seen the future of Nigeriaís soccer glory. We have seen a new Okocha with the potential of bettering your legendary Maradona. We have seen John Mikel Obi who has married the vision of Okocha and combining it with Kanu Nwankwoís magical trickery.
On our left back, we have seen a new Roberto Carlos from Nigeria. We have seen him in the image of the tall Taiye Taiwo, who is always gesticulating to prove that he plays from the heart and from the headóa thinking footballer! We have discovered new oil blocks on the field of soccer. We have discovered new diamonds waiting to sparkle on the world scene. Donít cry for me, Argentina. Cry for yourself. Cry for the golden future time when Nigeria would make you cry in a big way on the world stage. I donít need any seer to tell me this. Nigeria would rise again.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.