ENITAN OBADINA / AIPS* in DUBAI: Never has a game been won on the stands as much as on the field. This was the case at the Rachid Stadium in Dubai where Nigeria defeated Iraq 5-0 with loud and proud fans conducting the affairs all the way.

Some thirty minutes before kickoff the Nigerians arrived in droves to the stadium. Their presence was immediately heard as they sang the national anthem even before the team came out, along other folk songs from the country.

The support was not in vain as the Nigerian U-17 team obliged by scoring goals aplenty.

After the game, striker Taiwo Awoniyi acknowledged the atmosphere the fans created in the stadium.

He said: “We have to thank them because they were the ones that cheered us up. Mostly they were the ones that brought us into the game, the way they cheered us that we can do it.”

Jones Akinde Aladeleye travelled more than 6,000 miles from home to watch his first Nigeria match live. The thrill demanded a need to sing to the high heavens during the game.

His verdict: “The boys did very well, all the goals were beautiful, no doubt am proud to be a Nigerian.”

After Nigeria went four goals up the fans, like an orchestra but without a conductor, delivered the now famous call for more goals from any Nigerian team playing: “All we are saying, give us more goals; all we are saying, give us more goals.”

Although it did not yield immediate response, Chigozie Obasi made sure the voice of the fans became the voice of authority by scoring on the dot of 90 minutes to cap an amazing display of both attacking football and first-class supporting.


* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #