Guinness the Match: Five Benefits of playing a “Grade A” Friendly Match.

 The Case of : Nigeria Vs Argentina

Everyone loves a winning team, everyone! That is, except the coach who is saddled with the responsibility of finding the right mix of quality players that will make it happen. It’s hard to tell a player who can perform at the big stage except for ‘Grade A’ build up games like ‘Guinness the match:’ Nigeria Vs Argentina. The Super Eagles will for the first time, since the re-building process, face ‘The baptism of fire.’

For most Nigeria football fans, it’s not a novelty or build up match. It’s the ‘big test’ for Samson Siasia led Super Eagles. After loosing the WAFU cup to Togo, few weeks ago, many Nigeria fans are now wondering if Samson Siasia is jinx at finals.

For them, winning Argentina in Abuja will be a big relief as well as revenge for the several losses at World Youth Championship, Olympic games and World Cup to this one Argentina. But the former Super Eagles captain Sunday Oliseh said, “A friendly game is not the right time to seek for revenge. It’s the time for any Coach not to be carried away with result, but to discover areas where his work lies.”

Oliseh might be right, except that he doesn’t understand the present state of mind of the average Nigeria fan. After several years of heart breaks by the mediocre display of the Super Eagles, the Nigeria fan is in dilemma either to support Samson Siasia rebuilding process or to bring him to the executioner’s table and cut-off his head.

Well, that’s Nigerians for you, you’re toast as a Coach, if Super Eagles are not winning all their games, whether competitive, novelty or build up match, Nigerians love to win all the time. Former Eaglet and Flying Eagles coach Sebastine Boderick said it’s not peculiar to Nigeria. “Result could count in such quality ‘Grade A’ game like the up coming Nigeria Vs Argentina. The team morale could go down if they loss woefully to Argentina. The team distracters could also capitalize on the extreme poor result to discredit Samson Siasia’s rebuilding process.” “I thought Siasia should try to build the team morale with playing smaller football countries before going for the big one.”

However, the Public Relations Manager of Guinness Plc.-----------said it was purely a corporate social responsibility program to sponsor a friendly game of this magnitude. “We wanted to be part of the rebuilding process, to help recapture the passion of the Nigerian fan towards the Super Eagles. And we could feel the pulse of the people now. The match tickets are sold out. It’s going to be a memorable game in the history of Nigerian football.”

Well, if we can see from the positive angle, the ‘Grade A’ game like this one could be very beneficial for the team. What if the Super Eagles win the game? What are the real benefits? I’ll briefly discuss just five benefits here.

Five Benefits of ‘Grade A’ friendly Games

1. Team Exposure: The Argentina match will be a big test for the Super Eagles. They will be playing against world class players like Lionel Messi, Di Maria, Trevez etc. However, it’ll expose the players first hand on how to handle top class games; especially teams from South America.

Nigeria team strength shall be put to test as well as their weakness shall be exposed. It’ll help the Coach to understand how best to cover the team’s weakness and enhance their strength in the future.

2. Build Team Cohesiveness: Playing ‘Grade A’ games regularly will help the team build indepth cohesiveness in the way they play. The point is, most Super Eagle players play in different leagues and different clubs. Each one of them come with their own style. Tough games like the Argentina match, will force the players to support one another during the game.

This is the best way to build team cohesiveness. After games like this one, the Super Eagles players will begin to understand themselves and develop winning mentally by learning how to raise their game in difficult situations.

3. Boost Team Morale: I believe the Super Eagles will be highly motivated to get a good result against Argentina on June 1st. If they do after playing against the world best like Lionel Messi, the players will definitely feel like champions. They will come to believe in themselves that they could beat any team in the world.

Grade A friendly matches are morale boosters, no team could afford not to play them during their building process.

4. Build Team Support: Team support is a vital element that motivates a team to do well. Good things will come if Super Eagles get good result against Argentina. The fans and corporate organizations will repose confidence on them.

Fans will come out in full force to support the team - which means more ticket sales. Corporate organizations will like to associate with team and will put in their sponsorship money on the team. Then, the team will be motivated more to conquer the impossible.

5. Improve Team Worth: Success is everyone’s friend. If Super Eagles do well against Argentina, it’ll improve their position in the FIFA ranking. Therefore, corporate sponsors will begin to fight for exclusive association with the team. It means sponsorship price will go high. For instance, Jersey sponsors Adidas will have to pay more or risk loosing the sponsorship to rivals such as Nike or Puma.

At this point, the Super Eagles become crowd pullets and most of their games will be sold out. Sponsors will get more value for their money and the Super Eagles will have more opportunities to play some more ‘Grade A’ friendly games in their rebuilding process.

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