FIFA RANKING POINTS: What AFCON 2013 Win Portend For Nigeria and the Entire West African Countries

 Bonaventure McDonalds is a Sports researcher at Colorado University, Chicago. He is currently studying the trends of African Football, and he had an online Interview with me on Google+ Hang out.  The interview session was so insightful I thought I should share the chat thread with you.  

Here is the first part of the interview:

Mcdonald: Congratulations! What's the feeling like in Nigeria, as Super Eagles won Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)?

 Chukwueke:We feel great as a country. We won last in 1994 and in the past 19 years, Nigerian football has been struggling to maintain a stable growth. Stephen Keshi, the current Nigeria national team coach, came on board and did a drastic overhauling of the team. The decision that wasn't so popular with the people. Look at what he has got us now.  It feels so great to be Champion of Africa once again.

McDonald:  What is the Sociocultural Implication of this Victory to the people of Nigeria?

Benson Chukwueke Publisher of Cheer On Nigeria


: Chukwueke: Football is one factor that unites us as a country with such a diverse sociocultural heritage. Presently, there have been agitations for a Sovereign National Conference, but many feared that it could break up the country. Considering the up rising of militants in Delta, East and Northern region of Nigeria (MEND, MOSSOB, Boko Haram). But as a result of this victory, people are beginning to say that we're better together and can present a stronger force for African continent.

When we watch football, especially when Nigeria Super Eagles is on a winning path, there is no more political, tribal or religion sentiments. We all unite into what we call ‘the Nigerian Spirit.'

 Mcdonald: In the recent FIFA ranking Nigeria also made a dramatic 22 steps leap, now placed 4th in Africa. Can it be sustained?

Chukwueke: With Super Eagles performance in the just concluded AFCON, Nigeria should go straight to number one in Africa. At least by Head to Head, we defeated Ivory Coast, which is now place 12th and 1st in Africa. Nigeria also defeated Mali and didn't loose any game throughout the tournament. As you know, AFCON is the biggest tournament in Africa and we deserve to be first in the ranking.

We can sustain the drive, especially now Keshi has the backing of the Federal government. By just participating in AFCON we moved from 52 to now 30th position. I believe we can get to the first ten after the Confederations Cup in June.

Mcdonald: We saw West African teams dominate AFCON, what might be the reason for the trend?

Chukwueke: Well, West Africa has a strong football culture. At least, every male child born in the region would have played football at one time or another. The sport is advancing in the region through the migration of players into top teams in Europe/Asia and the establishment of quality academies around the region.

Top African players like Yaya Toure, Gervinho, are products of Asec Mimosa Academy in Ivory Coast. Mikel Obi, a product of Pepsi Academy in Nigeria. Ashomah Gyan, Ayew brothers are products of Feyerood Academy in Ghana. Players from West African region are pretty more exposed to the techniques of modern football. (Click the title below to read more).

Mcdonald:  What does AFCON victory and current FIFA ranking portend for Nigeria and the entire West Africa Countries?

Chukwueke: Nigeria success and the Dominance of West Africa teams in the just concluded AFCON tournament portend good things to come. It's a great public relation tool that would draw so much attention to the region; especially in the area of football business.

It would strengthen the migration of West African Players into top clubs around the world. It would lead to many affiliations between foreign organizations and local businesses in West Africa. Consequently, it would create wealth and eradicate poverty in many family units in the region.

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