By Ikeddy Isiguzo
ON the eve of the African Nations Cup qualifiers in Abuja against Guinea, what is becoming a usual task came my way, an international radio station pulled a call through to me on Friday asking me what are the chances of the Nigerian Super Eagles.
Pointedly, I told the reporter, “My mind deceives me to watch how the Super Eagles of Nigeria will make the nation unhappy with the outcome of the game.” He then asked me for a possible score line, I volunteered, “I do not see the Eagles soaring. I saw their wings clipped. My crystal ball showed a slim 1-0 score line which Guinea scored.”
A younger colleague who read the published version of the interview accused me of not being patriotic and nationalistic to which I replied in an instant message, “Baba, I dey. Waiting for Siasia’s Eagles like I said. My mind deceives me to watch them. Can they play well and win well? No. Or win but play badly. Yes. Uhm! Or will the table turn on our face with a slim goal. Yes. If they try better, disaster still looms somewhere.”
As soon as the match finished, he pulled a call through to me asking why I chose to use “your acidic mouth to nail the nation because I am always afraid of things you say about sports in this country. Consistently, you have proved some of these things so aptly.”
I only asked him. Can a bad person suddenly become good? To which he said, “what if he is born again?” I only laughed. Man is inherently a very consistent being. The religious ‘born again’ syndrome has never changed a man. Those who attempt change only left their beings to adopt new beings. There is vectored dislocation which normally is resisted and sustained but is not natural.
Samson Siasia, for those who can remember, I said it shortly after he was appointed on Brila FM and on AIT’s SportsFile Saturday morning programme “is not a coach. He is the creation of the Nigerian media. He is primed to fail.”
I remember that there was a programme on Brila FM where my voice was repeated and so many of the fans who called in cursed and rained abuses on me. Some accused me of beefing Siasia and being jealous. Many of my friends who heard the programme begged me not to go against popular public tides. I remember telling Mrs. Oyekale radio curses have no potency.
Some facts -
·Siasia took Jos University Teaching Hospital FC to relegation as its chief coach.
·Siasia took his native Bayelsa United FC of Yenagoa to relegation as chief coach.
· Kumbi Titiloye – now the administrator of Kwara Football Academy – introduced Simon Kalika to Siasia in 2005.
·Siasia helped the Heartland FC of Owerri that played in the previous season’s African Champions League final to a disastrous first round exit without winning a single match. That is the only game he has since 2005 played without his talisman, Simon Kalika! Had he brought in Kalika, he would have performed better.
· Our mutual coach in Maiduguri, Sebastine “Sabara” Imasuen is still alive in Benin City. I do not want to remind him of the day, a player, he imported from Julius Berger FC of Lagos made him to shed tears due to the problem of discipline. Not too long, Sabara moved on to the national under-17 where he hit stardom as a coach. Our friend moved on to the senior national team. As a mafia, we all have fresh memories of their activities against coaches like Shaibu Amodu.
·The Nigerian sports media remain one of the core problems of sports. They have consistently fed their reading, listening and watching public with misinformation and disinformation. They created the Siasia phenomenon as the El Dorado. What are their new defences? Siasia must have been sabotaged! I am waiting to read. Was it not on their sports pages he told us “I am 10 times better than Amodu”? Has he met any one of the three eras of Amodu’s records in the national team?
I siddon look. Waiting on Siasia’s employers, the Nigerians Feeding on Football (NFF) as led by Aminu Maigari. In saner climes, they are supposed to wake the nation on Sunday morning with resignation after sacking Siasia. No. they will rationalise and continue the maladministration of Nigerian football as usual! You want to ask of the NSC and the Sports Minister? Please, go to sleep again.
Olajide Ayodeji Fashikun
WOULD all have been well with our football if we qualified by the Nations Cup?
I pity those who take our football serious. No organisation can stand for integrity with a flawed foundation. The elections of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, should not have held. Many of us stated the elections massively violated NFA’s Statutes, nobody listened. The problems of NFA, an organisation that illegally bears the name Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, are only beginning. Act 101 of 1992 established the Nigeria Football Association; it cannot change its name without amending the law. However, the National Assembly sees no illegality in NFA changing to NFF without recourse to the law. The National Assembly approves budgets for NFA and allows NFF to spend them. When an organisation (NFF) exists outside the law and benefits from legality (budget) it is sanctioned to promote impunity.
Until we tackle the illegality of NFA, we cannot expect NFA to act legally. The National Assembly, for starts, should stop approving budgets for NFA until it is law abiding. We are kilometres away from making NFA law abiding, but little steps can lead to major changes. The tragedy is that a group steeped in greed of unimaginable proportions, acting above the law, has cornered our football.
I made the above comments about our football at the beginning of 2011, incidentally in response to a piece that Mr. Fashikun sent. We are not ready to address our football. Congratulations to Siasia and his team for riveting our attention to the dying game.