We were somewhat put out when our actual Nigerian lecturer sauntered into our class of actual Nigerian students of the University of Nigeria, on 22nd June, 2018 by 4pm to deliver an actual lecture. How anyone could have the heart to talk about the harmless microbes running about uninhibited in our bodies at the precise time the Nigerian players were running about not uninhibited on the Russian pitch was beyond the capacity of my brain cells. Guys shifted uneasily on their seats, girls muttered beneath their breaths, but after all that show, nobody moved. This was not time to move. The patriots had moved long before the lectures commenced. Instead, the rest of us resignedly followed the class through and through. It was well with our souls 😭

However, at about half time into the football match, our actual Nigerian lecturer let us go! Perhaps she was just exhausted, perhaps it was just a bout of Acute intermittent patriotism…nobody knew, nobody cared. We diligently fled out of the classroom into the bus taking us back to our hostels. We were still in the bus when the first goal came in from our team. Our gleeful screams quaked the bus. Who would have suspected that a bouncing baby goal would be born so soon after reports of a disgraceful first half?

As soon we emerged from the bus, many of us mindlessly dragged our exhaustion to places we could view the match. My hostel’s lounge bulged like an overfilled bag. It was more than I anticipated after our terrific loss to Croatia. Nevertheless, myself and a couple of friends went around the hostel to view the match through the windows outside. It was a good view. We stood there till the match was over.

The enthusiasm displayed by the girls watching the game was awfully comical. They cheered maniacally whenever a player made a correct pass, which was like 70% of the time, and they screamed like banshees whenever the opposition was in possession of the ball. In fact, each kick for the rest of the second half was an enzyme catalyzing screaming reactions. The commentator might have as well been dumb 😂

When our team gave a second goal, the celebration was massive. I was so happy, I jumped like a mutant frog, I let a random guy hug me and I let another random girl lift me up. Within the lounge, the magnitude of mirthful entropy was explosive. I never believed I could feel that happy about a football match. After a scary extra time of 6 minutes, we emerged victorious, zeroing Iceland with a standard of two 😄

This little victory meant a whole lot to Nigerians. MTN knew this and let us pass across our excitement even if it was just for a minute. And various social media convulsed with the joy thrown heavily at them from millions of users. For the first time in a long while, the whole country was dancing, laughing and praising God together, and we didn’t have to think of the filth we were dancing in. We have been so messed up in many ways, we wouldn’t have flinched if another speck of dirt had hopped in to join its brothers…but that didn’t happen. Instead the dying embers of our hope was a bit rekindled 💪

Our capacity to hope despite the smothering pessimism is amazing though. It’s why we stand in the rain to get our voters card even when our leaders eternally fail us. It’s why we watched another match even when the first ossified our tear glands.

The victory against Iceland is not a guarantee of a win against Argentina on the 26th, or an overall victory in the world cup itself, but still…