The thrills and frills associated with a tournament of that nature are not missing at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations being staged in Equatorial Guinea.
In fact, the competition is fast getting to its crucial stage with teams battling to either upturn the apple cart or trying to prove their favourite tags.
In spite of this, however, the absence of some top teams in the competition as well as lots of established players has no doubt taken some bit of shine out of the tournament.
How do you describe a tournament without a crowd-pulling national teams like that of the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt as well as the non availability of some stars like Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor to mention a few.
Notable among the missing in action is Nigeria, who despite winning the last edition of the competition held two years ago in South Africa failed to make it to the ongoing competition.
The failure of the Eagles to be part of the party in Equatorial Guinea has in no small measure robbed Africans as well as followers of the bi-annual tourney from across the globe some big moments and actions which Nigeria is known with.
In this piece, WESTERN POST Sport considers some of the real reasons football watchers all over the world are missing the Nigeria at the ongoing African version of the World Cup.
The Nigerian National Anthem
Arise o compatriot, Nigeria’s call obey…
Anytime and anywhere the Nigerian national anthem was being played, the ovation that follows have always being massive. There is no country in the world that would not cherish its anthem, but two things distinguish the Nigerians anthem from among others. It is very short and melodious, so to say.
That is why you see even non Nigerians rising up during tournament of this magnitude to join the fray when it is being sung by passionate Nigerians.
That lovely anthem has being missing in Equatorial Guinea, a fact that watchers of the tourney cannot deny.
The Green White Colour
Apart from the interesting Nigerian anthem, the Green white colours of Nigeria which is always conspicuous during any major competition is also missing in Equatorial Guinea.
Although there are few other countries that have almost the same colour combination like Nigeria, particularly Algeria, but the absence of the Nigerian colour is well noted especially from the stands where lots of fans residing in places where competitions were being held adorn the Nigerian national team jersey.
The Nigerian Football Supporters Club
Besides teams participating in any major tournament, another group of people that catches the attention of football watchers are the various supporters club.
There job is simply to roll out the drums, raise their voices to encourage their teams.
One of such supporters club that always stands tall among others is the vociferous Nigerian Football Supporters Club, a club that took the act of supporting a team to another level.
Even President of the FIFA Joseph Sepp Blatter could not hide his love for the Nigerian supporters club, acknowledging the fact that the club always spice up every tourneys with their unique display both on the terraces and outside the pitch.
In terms of numbers, members of the Nigerian supporters clubs are twice larger in number than any other country’s supporters club.
At the ongoing AFCON, the voices of the Nigerians as well as their drums and trumpets are nowhere to be found and this has to a very large extent, took the shine off the Equatorial Guinea 2015.
The Nigerian High-powered Delegation
Maybe with the exception of few occasions, Nigeria always present the highest number of dignitaries at every competition of this magnitude..
When Nigeria is involve in a tourney like the AFCON, you definitely except to see government officials in their large numbers as well officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the National Sports Commission (NSC).
Atimes, you also have dignitaries from the states like the governors and commissioners flooding the venue of any championship especially when the country’s national team is fortunate to progress to the latter part of that competition.
The secretariat of the NFF and on few occasions that of the NSC are practically relocated from Nigeria to the venue where any tourney is staged.
It is a different ball game entirely in Equatorial Guinea where the bigwigs from the country are missing in action no thanks to the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the competition.
Nigerian Sports Journalists
Aside the presence of large number of dignitaries at venues of any tournament, another group of people that makes Nigeria’s absence in Equatorial Guinea to be felt are the Nigerian sportwriters.
At any event which has the Nigerian national team in attendance, the number of journalists representing various media houses is always higher than that of any country.
In some instances, some media houses have up to two or three of its staff on ground to cover the event, all in the bid to get hold of happening around the tourney.
However the media zones of the ongoing AFCON, is no doubt missing the Nigerian journalists who are always a delight to watch while on duty.
Nigeria may not have qualified for the 2015 AFCON, but it is no gainsaying that the country parades some of the best legs on the continent.
These are players who often make a tournament interesting. Talk about players like Mikel John Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa and the rest.
The player that is mostly missed is goalkeeper and captain Vincent Enyeama who has turned out to be a delight to watch for soccer fans in the past few editions of the Nations Cup.
Enyeama is always the cynosure of all eyes not only on the continent of Africa but in other competitions beyond Africa including the World Cup where he has shown so brightly.
His daring saves are being missed greatly in Equatorial Guinea.
Nigerian stars are known for hitting the market hard at any competition. This is one of the things host of the 2015 AFCON will miss due to the absence of the Super Eagles at the tourney.