By Emma Okocha
FOR many years, the Nigerian National teams depended on their wingers to produce the goals or to disrupt the opposing defence in order for the rampaging strikers to find the net.
The exploits of these brilliant wingers will remain evergreen in our football memory.Â Dejo, Fayemi, Ibadan Lions; Okwudili, Lagos ECN; Peter Anieke, Stationary Stores; Kunle Awesu ICC Shooting Stars; Josiah Donbraye, Sharks of Port Harcourt; Emeka, Onyedika, Enugu Rangers International.
During Father Ticoâ€™s era, he noticed and imbibed in his wingers the natural advantage the African footballer has over the other football nations of the world â€” Speed.
The Nigerian wingers were trained to accelerate the attack and when a natural winger is discovered, he is trained to work on his speed. If he is intelligent and blessed with more skills, then that Nigerian formation was organised to let the offence loose from the wings. Those were the days of 4 -2-4.
In the 90 minutes of play, the Nigerian squad, built on a formidable defence, supported by a midfield of â€˜â€™ball boysâ€™â€™ and provided upfront with wingers that have the fire power of a Damien Ogunsuyi, the overlapping speed of Ogidi Ibeabuchi, and the on-the-run dribbling capabilities of Segun Odegbami, is a killer squad.
Adokiye Amiesimaka as Unilag law student, and playing in the mid-seventies, for perhaps the greatest Nigeria soccer assembly, belonged to that select pantheon of Eagles wingers who had everything. Speed, ball intelligence, dribbling sense, thirst and nose for the goals. And the critical winger advantage of locating his number 9 without looking up to find his striking direction.
Adokiye in his prime, could have played for any team in the world.Â But his time under the sun was not like our today. A great time for many of our average football players, who are celebrated all over the world for just possessing one or few of Adokiyeâ€™s talents.
Millions of naira, instant stardom and immediate transformation is accorded to an African son of a carpenter, once he can outrun his European opponents and score a goal. The whole football world is waken up to salute the goal and the new media hurry to announce it, mounting the footage all over the place. And who will tell the world that my poor CJ, Adokiye, who in his many unsung days did score better goals, meandered through tougher defences and had more grace of movement than those sons of carpenters.
Furthermore, most of these boys as noted by our own enfant terrible, Etim Essien, were supposed to be candidates for the streets, did not like going to school, never came near a Law School.
Whatever was the main issue with our former gifted winger, Adokiye, which led him to condemn publicly the Nigerian football authorities, for fielding overaged players at the ongoing U-17 tournament, at a time the junior team is fighting to restore the countryâ€™s soccer reputation, is beyond reason. For him, who has had it all, it is the ear-splitting thud of a fallen angel.
Adokiye Amiesimaka as a player was a gift from the gods. As an artist, he had an uncommon spiritual connection with the masses who made up over 80% of the Lagos Surulere stadium crowd. They worshiped him, and called him their CJ.
Because he is one of those few souls who are so blessed and constantly tormented and must suffer from tyranny of talents, he was offered a radio programme and in no good time, he graduated as a star broadcaster. He was invited to play for the legendary Rangers at his own terms.
On retirement, he was almost given the whole franchise of the Sharks of the Rivers State. To the best of our knowledge, he was the President, if he likes the Chairman and most of the time, doubled as the Coach and also the team Manager and even when he went off to other appointments, he is always coming back to the Sharks as if the Sharks FC was his family business.
As if the blessings were not enough, he became the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General for the Rivers State. Please, my dear CJ, were you on seat when the mother of all immorality was committed in Rivers State? When they hanged the environmentalist, and burnt the civil rights crusader with acid?
What were your reactions? You must be very lucky you were not brought before the Admiral KKK OmoregieCourtmarshal of the Vanguard Kikiriki Base Command. That military court would have have found you guilty and caned you over your recent inconsideration and innuendos against poor youngsters whose crime is nothing but to be allowed to just better their lives.
Come to think of it, how many Nigerian poor kids really know when they were born? We were horrified to learn in a recent seminar at George Washington that most African kids claim any age in order to play soccer, move up their age so as to qualify to eat food before they are registered to go to school!
The seminar brought the whole room to tears when a referenced study posited that, over 75% of the focused African kids go to school without food. So in those formative years, the European child and others who are well fed should be way ahead of his African counterpart. The Governor of Rivers last week came to Virginia and surprisingly confirmed our nightmare. That our poor kids are going to school without food!! And somebody is shouting about age advantage.
On balance, we will like to submit that the football organisation and our sports in general have not seen the best of leadership. But in this pen profession, we are trained to observe that, there are some news that are too hot to report, even if it is a true story.
CJ, in your bile disclosure, have you considered the impact of your bombshell on the poor boy Chukwudi Fortune, and Olanrewaju Kayode? Their poor families and of course the impact of your story onÂ you and your stewardship as a man of everything in the Sharks FC? Your own Rivers state?
For a long time, your outburst will stay with those lads and they will never forget you. Have you worried about your storyâ€™s indelible mark on Nigeria, her soccer reputation?Â Your intemperate revelations must have wounded irretrievably her efforts to rebrand her image through the expected success from hosting the world.
On that final question, we would like to invite you to step into the arena. With the simple caveat that you must as you say in your professional register; â€˜those who come to equity must come with clean hands.â€™ From your moral compass as a former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General, tell us the inside stories of the murder of Saro Wiwa.
In the final analysis, if the Nigerian team under Captain Chukwudi Fortune runs away with the U-17 world cup, or fails to make it, Nigeria and the world football will for ever remember the unexpected thunder from a fallen angel who like Caesar wanted everything for Rome.
But like all tragedies of our world, Caesarâ€™s motivation and world view for Rome, obscured the daggers of his envious and corrupt fellow Senators of Rome.
The daggers that ripped his heart into pieces, invited and encouraged the vandals, the barbarians, the poor peoples of the slave kingdoms of the world to move and eventually overthrow the rotten Roman Empire. CJ Adokiye Amiesimaka ais the Nigerian Dude of the Year.