When Chinua Achebe wrote his award-winning novel, Things Fall Apart,Â little did he know that one day it would become the flagship of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.
But events of the last few months have shown that truly things have fallen apart for Nigerian sports that the centre, indeed, cannot hold. Just as Nigerians are gritting their teeth and getting to terms over the chances of the Green Eagles in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there was so much hope that Samson Siasia and his bunch of U-20 team would wipe their tears in the tourney currently going on in Egypt.
But like a child that plays, the first match came and a certain character called Lukman Haruna, committed an unprofessional foul, got a red card and spoilt the game for others. Flying Eagles lost 1-0 to Venezuela. Expectations mounted in the second match against Spain. NIGERIAN soccer fans suffered yet another heartbreakÂ when Spain inflicted pain 2-0 to compound their woes of qualifying and also push their continued stay into permutations( if they beat Tahiti, the whipping team, they might qualify as one of the best losers). Nigeria lost that match and shot into FIFAâ€™s unholy record of getting two red cards in two matches. Gbolahun Salami saw red against Spain. Apart from the U-20 team, there are uncertainties as regards the fate of the U-17 team in the U-17 World Cup which Nigeria would host next month. Old men with small frames are being fished out by the wonder machine called MRI.
At the last count, 17 players inÂ the team failed the test while there are reports that many more were asked quietly to leave camp as a result of the MRI. Coach John Obuh is growing grey hairs as his team could not embark on their training tour to Germany. Things have truly fallen apart. But Alhaji Gara-Gombe, one-time Chairman of Gombe FA said that the blame belongs to the NFF. â€œThey did not come through the right door.
They pushed away Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima and nemesis has caught up with them. Since they came on board, it has been one problem or the other. They are yet to tell NigeriansÂ the where-about of the $236,000 purportedly stolen from their safe. I donâ€™t have any blame for Siasia. You cannot kill a horse and tell Siasia to resurrect it. It was the NFF that was sacking coaches and appointing othersâ€, Gombe said.