It is time for Africa to take her place in world football as the World Cup kicks off.
It is with great joy that I write as the World Cup kicks off in South Africa next week. We have waited for more than six years in anticipation of our turn to host the world’s most important sporting event.
Every fours years the stars of football come out to shine at the World Cup and this time we have the opportunity to host them on our land with our impressive cultural heritage.
Africa welcomes the world to this great continent of beauty, hopes and dreams. We open our arms wide and we say welcome, Akwaaba, Ekaabo, Sanu da zuwa, and Sawubona to everyone that will be visiting our continent during this period.
Football is more than a sport, it is our life blood in Africa. When our national teams play we forget all of our differences and gather round with one goal in mind, victory.
We follow with every breath and every blinking of the eye as our stars kick the ball all over the field. We forget our ethnicity, our religions, our prejudices and hug each other on the streets whenever our teams score.
Football has been a force for good in our continent. It has brought an end to wars. Ask Didier Drogba how he was able to bring peace to his former troubled Ivory Coast. See how the great Pele made the warring factions in Nigeria declare a ceasefire just to see him play during the Biafran War.
Football is more than a sport, it is a passion. The World Cup is the biggest shrine of football and it is where many of us dreamed of being as kids. To see our heroes play means more than a thousand treasures.
As the World Cup begins in our Africa this week, I will be supporting my team the Super Eagles to victory. No matter what happens during the tournament, I will be the number one fan of the Super Eagles. And if the Eagles fail to make it further, I will support football.
For football is much more than nationality, it is a lifestyle, it is a religion, it is a calling and a gift to mankind. Football is a force for good for us so let us embrace this beautiful gift that has been given to Africa and rise up to celebrate it.
It is our time.