“The whole country becomes one” – Ligue 1 star describes Super Eagles’ impact on Nigeria
The three-time African champions are one of the most widely supported football brands in the world
Nigerians love football and nothing brings the continent’s most populous nation together like when the Super Eagles are playing, says FC Lorient striker Teremas ‘Terem’ Moffi.
Born 22 years ago in Calabar, in southern Nigeria, Moffi grew up in the country until football took him to Europe six years ago.
The striker was a teenager when the Super Eagles last won the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa and was still an unknown quantity when the former Afcon winners participated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
But he knows about his fatherland enough to be convinced that the Nigerian national team is massively followed across the length and breadth of the country, serving as a unifying element for millions of people of diverse tongues and tribes.
“I would say football in Africa is the second religion,” Moffi told Onze Mondial.
“In Africa, we love football. In Nigeria, football brings people together. When the Super Eagles play, the whole country becomes one. Everyone unites to support the national team.”
The former Kortrijk ace finished in the top ten on the French Ligue 1’s goalscorers’ chart with 14 goals in his debut season, earning himself a call up to the national team at the tail end of the campaign.
He has since earned two caps for the three-time continental kings but is yet to record a goal or an assist.
However, Moffi is dreaming, among other things, of being a part of the Super Eagles team to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January and possibly even lifting the Afcon trophy.
When asked if he has dreams, the youngster replied: “Yes of course. As a young footballer, you do not end your career in Lorient. FCL is a launching pad for my career; I want to play in the Champions League, I want to win as many trophies as possible.
“I want to represent my country at CAN and the World Cup. If I really want to dream without limits, the goal would be to win an international trophy.”
Despite his undoubted talent, it would be a massive achievement for Moffi to make the Nigerian squad to Cameroon 2022.
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has an abundance of strikers to choose from, with Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Genk’s Paul Onuachu, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho all ahead of the Lorient lad on the pecking order.