The world cup is here again, and the destination is Russia. Countries have fought hard to be there. Some succeeded and qualified, others, will have to try again in four years. Nigeria is one of the lucky ones that will be flying the continent’s flag high in football’s biggest event, but it didn’t just happen. Aiteo, the Nigerian Football Federation’s Official Optimum Partner has been working quietly from the start, paving the way for what has turned out to be a dream come true for Nigerians and football lovers worldwide.
For the first time in a long while, Nigerians can dream, we can hope, and the world is looking in our direction. It started with the way the Super Eagles breezed through the qualifiers, reminding ardent football fans of the glory days of Nigerian football. And now that the World Cup is here, Aiteo is not resting on its oars as shown with the unveiling of the new Super Eagles Official Theme Song for Russia 2018.
The song, titled “Dem Go Hear Am” was sang by the duo of Olamide and Phyno, undeniably two of Nigeria’s biggest hip-hop stars. The lyrics of the song is motivational, and the beat is one that can be danced to in any style from galala to shakushaku.
Although the Super Eagles have struggled in the pre-world cup friendlies despite breezing through the qualifiers, this song is expected to be played and chorused by fans in Russia and back home to motivate and inspire them. We have oil and gas giant, Aiteo to thank for this.
The story of how the Nigerian Super Eagles will be participating in Russia 2018 cannot be complete without talking of the Aiteo intervention. Those familiar with Nigerian Football pre-Aiteo intervention will cite a lot of bad memories ranging from unpaid players allowances, unpaid coach fees, players being stranded, and a host of other challenges that had continually held the nation’s football back.
When the N2.5 billion worth sponsorship was activated in May 2017, the NFF started a return to the glory days of Nigerian football. National coaches that were owed were paid, the current Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr was paid his outstanding fees.
Getting sponsorships for the country’s football had been a challenge with partners not sticking to agreements. Aiteo Group took a chance on the country’s football and the outcome is a fairytale that has the Nigerian Super Eagles going to Russia as favorites with the eyes of the world focused on the team and what it has to offer.
Aiteo’s sponsorship of the Nigerian Football Federation has not just propelled the Super Eagles forward, it has repositioned the nation’s football all-round and given fans a dream to believe in. The Federations Cup is no longer just played for the fun of it, it has become a cup that football clubs aspire to play in and a springboard for careers. Another 2.5 billion naira was injected later into the Federations Cup now renamed Aiteo Cup. It has become an avenue for national team and club to scout and sign talented players who can improve their teams.
Under the Aiteo sponsorship of the NFF, the renamed Aiteo Cup now has a prize money of N25 million for the male category and N10 million for the female category. Apart from that, Aiteo now pays match officials in each match played in the tournament.
It is easy to limit the resurgence of the Super Eagles to mere talent on the part of the players, but when you consider the fact that these players have always been talented, it becomes clear just why this talent alone cannot solve problems.
In the past, Nigeria has had some of its talented players who chose to play for other countries due to the poor image of Nigerian football, but now, we have more Nigerian footballers identifying with the country’s football.
There’s no better way for the Super Eagles to repay this faith shown by Aiteo than to deliver good results in Russia as team captain, John Mikel Obi promised President Buhari during the team’s visit to the Presidential villa before their departure for Russia.
The World Cup kicked off on Thursday June 14 and again, Nigerians, putting all their troubles and differences aside, are unitedly cheering the team on with Aiteo leading the charge. The fans also have a song to chant as they scream their lungs out. We hope that Super Eagles of Nigeria against all odds, will stun the world, and return victorious, clutching that famed trophy with memories that will replace those of Atlanta 96, the year impossible was renamed nothing.