The Nigerian team is gathering before the penalty shoot-out against Germany during the match for third place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™.
Small Talk is Big Talk, especially in the context of intercultural communication. It is a way to connect and very often the beginning of a story to be listened or to be told, like here about football in Nigeria.
Football (Americans say Soccer) has always played a major role in my management career – as a topic in conversations with employees, no matter where in the world it was. And, of course, always associated with a little bit of pride, because the German teams (men and women) had earned great international respect.
An example from a conversation a few years ago at the plant in Narrows, Virginia has remained very vivid in my memory. During my time at the plant, I also had the opportunity to get to know an intern who was still in university education. She came from Nigeria to study in the United States.
Among other things, we talked about the topic of her education and in particular about the path she had taken for it. That’s how I learned about her origin. When I heard “Nigeria”, my reaction was an astonished “Wow!”.
Surprised by my reaction was her question: “Do you know Nigeria?”
My answer: “I’ve never been there, but the football that is played in the country is remarkable. And that applies to the Super Eagles (the men) as well as to the Super Falcons (the women),” who have already won the African Cup eleven times.
The glow on the young woman’s face from this discussion, based on the fact that I knew about women’s football in Nigeria, stayed with me in my mind for a long time and has remained present to this day.
The Super Falcons have qualified for the World Cup, which is currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand. Drawn in Group 2, they will play against their opponents from Ireland, Canada and the host country Australia for a place in the round of sixteen.
In any case, I still see the encounter with the intern in my mind when I see the Nigerian team play and, somehow, I feel sympathy for the team at this moment.
➡ Football brings people together. Or how do you see it?
My name is Bernd Scharbert and I write about experiences that can be transferred from football to business life. If you are interested, feel free to follow my hashtag at LinkedIn #fussballmeetsbusiness.