Adepoju urges team to tread with caution
No African country has won the FIFA World Cup, which is in its 21st edition this year, but many pundits from the continent believe this is the time to break the jinx. And which team is better suited for the task than the Super Eagles.
A continent wide survey by Kenya-based PR agency Geopoll, client of African Laughter, tips Nigeria to become the first African country to win the trophy at the Russia 2018 World Cup slated to kick off next month.
The poll made available to The Guardian featured 2,400 unique football fans from six countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal.
In the polls, Nigeria has the highest to win vote with 31 per cent indicating that they would be rooting for the Super Eagles. Senegal follows closely with 20 per cent, while Egypt earned 23 per cent in the polls.
Geopoll noted that the fans were swayed by the outstanding performance of the Super Eagles during the African qualifiers, adding that 44 per cent of Nigerian fans are optimistic the Eagles would make history in Russia as the first African country to win the World Cup.
Among the other African flag bearers, the survey indicates that 49 per cent of Senegalese fans indicate that the Taranga Lions would win the Mundial, just as Brazil was chosen by African respondents to win the competition.
The agency also established that 86 per cent of Africans across South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and Tanzania plan on watching this year’s World Cup in Russia, compared to 71 per cent who watched some of the matches in 2014.
They posited that over 600 million fans are expected to watch the World Cup with Ghanaian men getting the highest vote of 99 per cent to watch the world football fiesta.
This, the outfit, said demonstrates the high level of interest in the tournament and the strength of the World Cup brand.
65 per cent of the Nigerians interviewed mentioned that they will be watching the World Cup from home, while those who were going to watch the games outdoors, at a friend’s place, in the office, restaurants/clubs and in other places accounted for 14 per cent, 10 per cent, six per cent, three per cent and one per cent respectively.
The Geopoll result also disclosed that football viewership has shifted radically in Africa in recent years from male dominated stadium and clubs to now large number of female fans, in a growth that commentators have attributed to changing life styles.
Geopoll said the large number of African respondents in the polls revealed that the continent’s fans see it as a patriotic duty to support their fans, adding that the 2018 World Cup, which is the first in Africa on media and audience services, offers data insight on its viewership.
Meanwhile, former Super Eagles player, Mutiu Adepoju has urged the national team to avoid complacency and work hard to achieve its potentials.
“The Eagles have a bright chance to win the World cup. But for me they should approach every game as it comes. Tipping them to win the World Cup is capable of putting the team under pressure.
They should not allow the fans’ praises to get into their heads to avoid complacency in their games. They need to give their best in every game to move ahead in the world championship. Taking each game as it comes would put them in good stead in Russia,” he said.