Written By Akeem Busari
The Nigeria Football Supporters Club, has reiterated its importance to Nigerian football and its successes in the game.
Rev. Sam lkpea, Secretary - General of the NFSC, made this remark during an exclusive interview held in his office. According to the vastly experienced scribe, members of the supporters club often go spiritual before and during matches played by the country's national teams.
"You won't believe what most of us go through whenever the Super Eagles or any other of the country's national team are up against any opposition both home and abroad, "Ikpea said.
" For the sake of our national teams, we often go on compulsory fasting and prayers in order to ensure our teams are victorious, "he added.
He recalled also how members of the NFSC would go through harrowing experiences in the hands of overzealous security personnel and fans in foreign countries.
" We have experienced some very bad and dangerous moments in the course of going out to support our fatherland.
"These unfortunate experiences are too many to recollect, "he continued with a dour glint in his eyes."
" I remember how we were made to suffer in terrible cold outside the stadium in Tunisia, when Enyimba won the CAF Champions League. We were of course, undaunted and remained resolute in our mission. Thank God, because we triumphed and the pain and sufferings weren't for nothing, " he added with smiles.
The high ratings enjoyed by the NFSC globally, Ikpea stated is a result of the tireless and inspirational leadership of Dr.Rafiu Ladipo, the President-General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club worldwide.
" The successes and achievements recorded by Nigerian football and of course, the NFSC have enjoyed immense contributions by Dr.Ladipo, "Ikpea stated emphatically.
" l can vividly remember how far he had gone in ensuring that we keep moving on in spite of serious challenges to our finances and personal lives, all because of the love and passion for football," he quipped ruefully.
The businessman cum sports philantropist went ahead to berate the government for not recognising genuine and patriotic Nigerians who have contributed meaningfully to the socio-economic growth of the country.
"lt is a shame that a prominent Nigerian in the person of Dr.Rafiu Ladipo, is yet to be officially recognised and given a national award by the past and present government in this country.
"This is a man who has tiredlessly ensured that Nigeria football is known and supported all over the world, while spending his money, energy and time for the sake of his fatherland, "he lamented.
On the infectious and ceaseless dancing and singing that has become synonymous with the supporters club, he remarked gleefully that it is sometimes a spontaneous reaction to unfolding events on the field of play.
" Let me tell you, some of those songs are spontaneous and you could say spiritual, too.
"For instance, when we start singing.. 'He is a miracle working God.. He is the Alpha and Omega..', you would know something important is about to happen. And God has never failed us when we come up with that song, "he explained with broad smiles on his face.
Conclusively, he disclosed that the NFSC are working seriously to ensure that Nigerian teams and infact the whole contigent representing the country at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games, are well supported.