Global football supportership started since the first football match was played in England, the much acclaimed home of football.
From the very beginning, football fans have traveled far and wide with their national teams to offer physical support. They celebrate in victory and cry in defeat.
The Nigeria Football Supporters Club was founded in 1956 by football-loving Nigerians drawn from different walks of life ostensibly to support the Green Eagles as the Super Eagles were then known. They spend their personal money to travel far and wide to support their national teams and return home fulfilled even in defeat.
For many years, Dr Rafiu Ladipo championed this cause as National chairman and made history in USA 94, as the Supporters Club were voted the best and most colorful football supporters club in the world.
That legacy, gingered the group to more successes and with it, came pleasant and unpleasant memories.
However, things suddenly fell apart when chief Rafiu Ladipo became autocratic and wanted to run the supporters club like a personal empire.
He won the battle against the likes of Isaiah Chinedu Ezeogu, a young business man who invested so much in supporting the club but saw his dream of becoming chairman punctured by Dr Ladipo, who had then moved up the ladder to become the president General, worldwide of the club.
This position according to members, was never enshrined in the constitution, rather it was borne out of greed and a desire to remain relevant.
If Dr Ladipo had used his new position and influence to broker peace among members, he would have emerged one of the most respected football icons alive and would by now, be decorated with a national award in recognition of his selfless services to the club and to humanity.
Unfortunately, he failed to do so and watched with disappointment, as the football supporters club of Nigeria fell from the enviable height of world best to a group battling in commotion and crisis.
Then came the division, as factional groups emerged from the family leading to the emergence of four registered supporters clubs, all flourishing under different names, identities and leadership.
Among these four, one group, the *SUPER EAGLES SUPPORTERS CLUB (SESC)* have stood out from the pack interms of composition, maturity and style.
*Five Reasons Why Super Eagles Supporters Club Stands Out As Africa’s Number One*.
Super Eagles Supporters Club comes with so much originality and consistency. After the split from the Nigeria football supporters club, Vincent Okumagba took the bull by the horn to start the Super Eagles supporters club. He was able to get the very best hands and brains, the elders and strong men from the Nigeria football supporters club to set up a formidable break away team. Inspite of all that has happened since then, it is on record that the other two groups that are now struggling for fame and recognition, got their initial motivation from the bold step taken by Vincent, the only man with the boldness to dare Dr Rafiu Ladipo and walk away, despite of all the threats.
Membership of the Super Eagles supporters club is drawn from a majority of the elders forum who opted out of the Nigeria football supporters club and decided to pitch tent with their former chairman. It will be recalled that Vincent Okumagba emerged as a child of necessity. He became chairman of the Nigeria football Supporters club after the death of the former chairman, Otunba Bashorun. His decision not to step down for a anointed candidate of Dr Rafiu Ladipo, led to the crisis that eventually led to the collapse of the club.
Okumagba had his key loyalists then and majority of them kept faith with him and decided to dump the Nigeria football supporters club and start the Super Eagles Supporters club under the able chairmanship of Delta born, Mr Vincent Okumagba
3. *International Spread*
Super Eagles Supporters club today has a secretariat in all 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory, Abuja. In each of these states, SESC can boast of atleast 100 registered members. Every week, over fifty Nigerians from different parts of the world call, asking to be registered as member of the club. As at the last count, the club has taken it’s expansion drive to the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States where they now have chapters.
4. *NFF Endorsement*
Super Eagles Supporters club remains the only supporters club in the country with the full endorsement of the Nigeria football federation. NFF president, Amaju Pinnick on several ocassions, have identified with this club as the best and most organized group in the country and on several ocassions, they have received priority attention from the football house for every Super Eagles game and have stood out as Nigeria best supporters club till date.
5. *The AITEO Connection*.
Today, the sponsors have started trooping in. Super Eagles Supporters club enjoy partial support from one of NFF sponsors AITEO. It is partial because nothing concrete has been hatched but discussions are ongoing and a few incentives have been given on few ocassions to support this dream.
Today, whenever football suppoeterhip is being discussed in Africa, Nigeria stands out basically because of the outstanding performance of her supporters. The face of true suppportership in Nigeria and indeed Africa today, is the Super Eagles Supporters club, a group of outstanding young men and women, who have uniquely distinguished themselves in the trade and have given the world lots of memories to savour.