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Wanted An End To Wastes

By Ikeddy Isiguzo
ANYONE who has the interest of Nigerian football at heart should add his voice to condemn the wastes that have become a part of the Nigeria Football Association. How can all members of the association head off to South Africa in search of a World Cup camping site for the Eagles?

It would not have been that painful if the association pays its way. It depends on national resources to deliver its pervading poor results and makes a show of wasting the resources that would have gone to other sports.

Football cannot pay its way today because it is not in the interest of those who live off the waste it generates to operate prudently. Board members and management of the NFA would travel anywhere that hits their fancy at public expense to execute simple tasks as selecting a camping site. It is important to note that promises of carrying everyone along (taking all members on trips is a winning campaign strategy for the NFA Chairman).

One way to halt this waste is to kick out this board and commit the new one to applying resources wisely and within the borders of its earnings.

I would not be surprised if the NFA contingent repeats the trip, after failing purposely to secure a camping site in this first outing. We cannot forget that the more trips made, the more estacodes earned, and the happier everyone is, after being carried along.

PS: When will those who took the $236,000 from the cabinets in the NFA return them? Is it not interesting that the NFA could lose this amount of public funds and carry on as if nothing went wrong?

To Iloh @ 80
DR. Moses Iloh at 80 looks so young that he puts most of us to shame. I prefer to say he is 80 years young. The footballer, cyclists, humanist, who preaches and practises his beliefs is among a few who care little about discomfort while stating their position. The best thing about it is that he makes no efforts to claim credit for anything. Bred in the once placid Jos, he speaks Hausa with a cadence that strays in his attempts to speak his native Igbo. The stress he applies to his words, in any tongue, leaves no doubts about his convictions about the things he says.

Unknown to many, Dr. Iloh was among those who fought behind the scenes to restrain the monstrous fight to make the Nigeria Olympic Committee a wholesale conversion of the NOC to a government department.

It is a poor credit to the tenacity of the evils that rule Nigerian sports that 14 years after that battle a Minister of Sports is anxious to become the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee by every means.
We still need Dr. Iloh to say a word on this matter, for many these days are hard of hearing.
Happy birthday sir, may we all live to see the Nigeria of your dreams.

AK Amu Breasts The Tape

ALHAJI Abdul Kareem Amu, the one almost everyone calls AK Amu, whose frame was as towering as his fame has departed. Depending on how young you were when he ran those races in places that only a privileged few remember  Police Grounds, Obalande, for instance  you may under rate what the likes of AK did for Nigerian athletics, which has been on the throes of death lately.

AK was among the stars of his time, for he could easily win the Victor Ludorum  the most valuable athlete, or the winner of the game, literarily in most contests.

His dominance across the sprints, taking the ante as far as the 400m and then joining the relays mostly as the anchor, meant his opponents stood limited chances against him.

In AK we find the full circle of Nigerian athletics, the progression from ordinary athletes, mostly powered by the employment of the multi-nationals, to those who had university education and brought the full powers of their intellectual bent to competitions, the exodus to the United States on foreign scholarships, and now the droughts of talent and dearth of brain power to access those American scholarships.

As AK breasts the tape in the race of life, I remember his colleagues who preceded him, products of the same University of Ibadan: Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, who high jumped to gold with a record 2.03m at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, where all the high jump medals went to Africans (Patrick Etolu of Uganda was second with 1.99m; Nigeria’s  Naïfu Osagie at the same height was third) and former AAAN Chairman Thomas Chigbo, triple and long jumper, who made more name as a diplomat, including a stint as the Biafran Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire.

They must have inspired the likes of another former AAAN Chairman, Dr. George Ogan, who as a UI medical student won silver (triple jump16.08m,  the gold went to another great Nigerian athlete Sam Igun with 16.40w, who also took the high jump silver with 2.03m) at the 1966 Commonwealth in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Ogan still lives quietly in Port Harcourt .

AK never missed any of the conferences Vanguard held to intervene on the myriads of challenges facing Nigerian sports.We will miss him, but would always remember he gave his best whenever it mattered most. Adieu, sir.


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