Going into the 2010 World Cup, many different nations will have their reasons why they want to win the biggest prize in football.
From stunning the world (North Korea) and ending a long drought without a title (England) to proving that we are capable of not underachieving (Spain) and repeating as World Cup champions (Italy), each of the 32 nations in the World Cup will have their reason why they want to win it.
But there is one nation that deserves to win the World Cup more than the other 31 nations that are competing.
The nation that I believe needs to win the World Cup more than any other is Nigeria.
In case you do not know that much about Nigeria, here is some basic information about the country:
Nigeria was founded in 1960 after it declared independence from the United Kingdom and has always aimed to be a democratic country, despite being controlled by the military several times since 1960.
Overall, Nigeria has approximately 150 million people (the largest amount in Africa) and it has the eighth largest population in the world with that amount.
In soccer, Nigeria (a.k.a. The Super Eagles) has won the African Cup of Nations twice (finishing third overall in the most recent African Cup of Nations), has qualified for the World Cup four times (1994, 1998 and 2002 being the other three before this year), and won the 1996 Olympic gold medal.
However, Nigeria is a country that could experience great turmoil within the next two years.
Currently, Nigeria is a country that has a major divide between the Muslim north and the Christian south over issues such as the use of Shar’ia Law and the division of political power that exists between the two sides.
During the last several months, violence between the two sides has become even more apparent, with over 300 Muslims killed in January by Christians, and Islamist pastoralists and Christian villagers fighting in pre-dawn clashes back in March, killing 500 people overall.
Now one might say that these are problems that will always face a developing nation, but with the outrageous amount of corruption in Nigeria due to the presence of Shell Oil in the Niger Delta region and the misplacement of money that was given to the Nigerian government.
Of course with Shell Oil, groups of people throughout the Niger Delta region riot against the corporation as Shell Oil overall has been a terrible part of life in Nigeria.
Anyway, Nigeria now has yet another problem: The recent death of their elected leader Umaru Yar’Adua could once again cause a power struggle despite Vice President Goodluck Jonathan taking over the presidency.
Even though Jonathan took over for Yar’Adua in November of 2009, a death of a leader is always a hard pill to swallow, no matter what country you are.
But with elections coming up next year, no one knows what could happen as there is widespread corruption in the voting system as well (which accompanied Yar’Adua when he became president in 2007).
n the past, in situations such as these, the Nigerian military has taken control of the country until the government fully eased the country into a democratic system.
But now, no one knows exactly what the future holds for Nigeria as it remains a country that can not fully unify itself.
However, there is an event that is about to come up in less than a month that will shake all of Africa: The first World Cup on African soil as the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa.
Of course with the World Cup, people of different races, ideologies, and religions are all able to bond together as one as they root for their nation to claim the FIFA World Cup trophy.
Of course, with Nigeria becoming a split state, this is the perfect opportunity for Nigeria to come together as a nation and forget about all of their problems.
Lucky for Nigeria, a World Cup that was held in South Africa was once able to help unify a nation that was on the brink of a civil war.
That nation incidentally was South Africa in 1995, as South Africa’s triumph in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks of New Zealand was not only a defining moment in South Africa’s history, but it also unified both blacks and whites as South Africa moved forward.
During the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the slogan was, “One team, one country.”
This quote is one of the most important quotes in sport’s history now that we look back at it as that is what South Africa became as a result of their rugby team’s triumph at Ellis Park on June 24, 1995.
That Rugby World Cup triumph and Nelson Mandela’s leadership have now gotten the FIFA World Cup in South Africa as it has now become “Africa’s World Cup.”
For a nation such as Nigeria that needs to become “one nation”, this World Cup has become even more important than usual.
With the World Cup on African soil for the first time, this truly is a time for Nigeria to unite as a nation.
The Nigerian national team is filled with players like John Obi Mikel. What better way for Nigeria to fully bond as a nation than for Nigeria’s national team to pull out a World Cup title.
By Andrew Jordan