Two Years After, Football Stakeholders Celebrate Ifeanyi Ubah As Bright Spot Of Nigeria’s Russia World Cup Participation

Two Years After, Football Stakeholders Celebrate Ifeanyi Ubah As Bright Spot Of Nigeria’s Russia World Cup Participation

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Adewale Ajayi From Canada

From the dark memories of Nigeria’s participation at the 2018 world cup in Russia, to the turbulence that greeted the country’s elimination, Nigerian football fans have taken time to remember some of the bright spots of a rather unpleasant past

A country blessed with super stars, left for Russia with very high hopes, but returned empty handed after recording yet another bad outing just like it happened in Korea/Japan 2002

The Super Eagles of Nigeria drew 1-1 with Croatia, defeated Iceland two nil and lost 2-1 to Argentina to exit the competition in the first round.

    That outing left many devastated, knowing the huge investment involved and the enormous resources put into preparation and participation.

It is almost two years since that event, yet the memories still lingers. Some sports journalist who spoke about this event on the Nigeria Sports mouthpiece, an award winning WhatsApp sports platform, relieved some of their experiences, by first taking a swipe on coach Gernot Rohr for not doing enough to secure a draw against Argentina in a match that Nigeria needed just a point to qualify.

  Others berated the NFF for giving coach Rohr too much freedom to express his arrogance which many say, was responsible for Nigeria’s early exit.

 In the midst of these disappointments and disaffections, many still took time, to salute a man who stood out among men.

He is Senator Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, a man whose presence brought life and hope to footballers and fans alike during the competition.

Chief Ubah was flanked to the left by players and to the right by stakeholders, majority of whom are NFF board members, journalists and fans of the Super Eagles.

He was at the thick of the action, motivating Nigeria football fans in cash and kind just to raise the spirit in camp ahead of key fixtures.

Before the match with Iceland, he was at the players hotel, he met the supporters too at the entrance to the stadium and at the stadium, he was seen giving everyone a tap on the back as if to assure them that this is a winnable match, let’s go all out for maximum points.

Akin Bolarinwa is a Sport journalist, he saw the matches of the 2018 World cup and he has this to say about the impact of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah

     “I remember how he came to Russia and gave so much to people. Win or lose he was always there telling us to believe in our country. I saw his milk of kindness in Russia”

   Akin did not stop there, he went on to extol the good virtues of Senator Ubah, a man who has invested money, time and passion in promoting the beautiful game in a country where private investors are not always given their place of pride.

    “Senator Dr, Ifeanyi Ubah sponsored some weddings, i was told , he practically did it to encourage young men and women to wise up.

   Today many children came from such opportunities and Dr Ubah is still believing in us.

Even at this moment of pandemic he is still helping people.

A great man and very compassionate too” he concluded.

This is the extent to which this Nnewi born administrator can go at helping the poor. He is a friend of all and enemy to none. He is worshipped in the east, loved in the north, celebrated in the South and appreciated in the west.

CAF president Ahmad Ahmad describes him as an icon of African football no wonder he was only recently given a second term as member of CAF AFCON Commission by the CAF hierarchy.

May the good lord continue to empower this man to do what he loves to do best.

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