In case you don't know, Super Eagles is the brand name of the Nigeria men's national football team... often referred in some quarters as the biggest sports brand in Africa.
Here I'll help you understand how Nigeria supporters club contribute a big part to Super Eagles brand success as the most preferred football entertainment team from Africa.
In 1994, Nigeria was awarded the most entertaining team at the Fifa World Cup in USA, due to in big part the non stop musical displays provided by the Supporters club that got most of the spectators dancing and well entertained in every Nigeria match.
But can you ever imagine Super eagles playing without the drumming, trumpeting, and gyrating... without the Supporters club displaying with their mascots, caricatures, and their special songs... It will surely feel like something big is missing.
In a time when Nigeria national team may have lost its traditional style of play due to changes in modern football and the infiltration of european style into Africa, Super Eagles may have lost its brand differentiation but for the Supporters club that always bring such unique ambience every time the Nigeria team play... something so different from any other team in the world.
After the Vuvuzela incident in 2010 Fifa world cup in South Africa, many players began to complain of distractions caused by excessive noise produced by supporters clubs. And in 2014 world cup in Brazil, the Nigeria Supporters club where barred from entering into the stadium with their musical instrument.
"We couldn't really find our rhythm." said Ogeniyi Onazi. "As a team there was something missing that fire up our feet and hamonize our style of play - it is the musical tones of our supporters club...
Our supporters club is a big part of our team nomenclature that's why we cannot do without them..." declared MikelObi, current captain of Super Eagles.
"The sound bites of the supporters club give us such a unique expression and distinction from other teams... It is a feeling you can't really explain...whether of a national pride or a feeling that the whole country is behind us." said Vincent Enyeama, former captain of Super Eagles.
The supporters club doesn't operate from the outside, they are vital part of the planning of every match... The chairman Rafiu Ladipo, is a member of the national technical committee... and the responsibility of the Supporters club is so extensive.
It is very much easier to mobilize large number of supporters in home games. But when it come to away matches or tournaments outside Nigeria, the supporters club is saddled with responsibility to mobilize citizens and friends of Nigeria in that city...to come out to the stadium enmass to cheer the Super Eagles.
When Super Eagles have a crucial match, members of the Supporters club go to the extent of prayer and fasting for days or weeks...
Rafiu Ladipo and the Supporters club have been severally accused of employing "Juju" or envoking "spirit of Soccer" through some kind of white garment prophets, Ngozi Akuogwu or Prophet TB Joshua... These rituals they say, are responsible for some of Super Eagles mysterious performances...and greatest come backs in football history.
That's to tell you how committed the supporters club are to every Super Eagles success.
But most time the Supporters club is treated with disdain, so away from the players and the coaching crew. While Super Eagles are financed by government and corporate sponsors, the Supporters club are made to raise funds from individual members to carry out their activities... even traveling with Super Eagles to the world cup or any other major tournament , they are made to pay entrance ticket individually for every game.
And while Super Eagles players are paid bonuses for every game they win or draw and rewarded for every notable trophy thay win, nobody seems to recognize the input of the Supporters club to share the victory spoil with them.