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My eyes are in tears, Dalung, former sports minister laments Super Eagles’ World Cup woes




Former sports minister, Solomon Dalung is worried that the current slide of the Super Eagles as shown in the games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe  may cost the country the qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

“My eyes are in tears”, he said in a telephone conversation, calling for drastic actions to arrest the dwindling stature of the country’s lead sports brand.

“If we cannot beat Lesotho and Zimbabwe, which big teams do we think we can beat?”

He is of the opinion that the slide the Super Eagles are experiencing is due to the fact that decision makers don’t consult and feels that everything is in place.


“In my time as sports minister, I consulted widely and that explains the modest success, we got. In my term, Nigeria had 10 champions in different sports.”

“It is beginning to appear that our chances of qualification for the World Cup is becoming slim”, remarked the former sports minister.

He is worried that if South Africa, Nigeria’s major rival in Group C,  win their next match on Tuesday, a four-point gap would have been established ahead of Nigeria.

“Even if they don’t win their Tuesday’s match, South Africa will still be ahead of Nigeria by the time we are facing them in the Matchday 3 next year”, Dalung lamented.

He pointed out that the current results were not encouraging, even as Nigerians have the next Africa Cup of Nations in view.


“Now, we are condemned to win our remaining eight matches to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the World Cup.”

He wondered how it will look like if Nigeria could not get one of the nine confirmed slots for the World Cup. “It will be an historical disaster”, he said.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.