Mike Itemuagbor is a sports marketer of repute and can confirm the difference between donation and sponsorship.
Shortly after his appointment as sports minister last year Bolaji Abdullahi was on his way to Zurich, the FIFA headquarters.
February 2013: Seigha Porbeni called me from Port Harcourt where he was watching the last Secondary School Games and lamented this way:
Before Stephen Keshi was officially announced the new Super Eagles coach, I had the privilege of discussing the problems of the Eagles with him.
I have decided to draw your attention to the issues between Stephen Keshi, the Super Eagles coach and his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation. I do so for the interest of our football especially the 2014 World Cup campaign.
It could amount to a great disservice to Nigerian football if I do not let Nigerians know this.
In the early hours of Wednesday the just concluded Africa Youth Athletics Championship, otherwise known as AYAC Warri 2013, was reviewed on Sky News.
There was something unique about the reception Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan held for the Super Eagles while celebrating their 2013 Nations Cup feat.
When I saw pictures of the reception held for the Stallions of Burkina Faso from the airport to the stadium and their visit to the state house where the President hosted them, I tried to compare them with what happened in Abuja.
Can the Eagles withstand the physical attributes of their Burkina Faso counterparts and win the Nations Cup in South Africa on Sunday?
That is my wish.
Can they close the space they usually leave between them, play compact game and break away when they gain possession? That’s my wish.
There are three major qualities midfielders should possess. Coaches look out for these in them.
Aside food, drinks and music that form part of the entertainment here all football matches are shown on large screen television.
I’m sure Stephen Keshi must be savouring the 3-1 victory againstVenezuela in an international friendly inFlorida Thursday morning.
What has gone wrong with Nigeria? Yes, I would like to come and share our success story with you in Nigeria. When I was competing Nigeria was at the same level with Jamaica. But I don’t know why you have gone down. Yes, I’ll come to Nigeria.”
Two days after the final of the 100m for women Dr. Emmanuel Udughan, the Governor of Delta State was on line to the Nigerian camp at the London Olympics.
I was in Liberia and I saw the Eagles play 2-2 with the Lone Star in Monrovia. When I watch a game I celebrate goals but I lay emphasis on performance. I try to analyse the performance of the players individually and as a team.
Nine years ago, there were long queues in Nigerian cities especially Abuja.
It cost more than 20,000 to purchase a sim card when Nigeria introduced GSM telecommunications. Globacom stormed the scene more than one year after and crashed the price to N5,000.
Sports is part of entertainment and this partly explained why he took huge interest in not only what we did on the sports desk but also in Nigerian sports.
Sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi surely means well for our sports but he simply doesn’t get it. While lamenting on our failure at the 2012 London Olympics, the minister assured that Nigeria will win five gold medals at the next games in Rio de Janeiro and that the next Sports Festival in Lagos, the Eko 2012 Games will be the springboard for good performance in the next Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.
I played football but not to the level that officials needed my passport for any outing. Injury did not allow me to proceed.
I have seen spectacles. I have enjoyed some great shows from music to movies and exciting atmospheres in sports from tennis to track and field and of course football. But nothing is like the Olympics. Some adore it almost as a religion. Yes, it even started like a religion before it became competitive.
I have to tell this story to President Goodluck Jonathan for he is also the patron of Nigeria Olympic Committee.
I was in Calabar to see the Eagles beat Rwanda 2-0 in a Nations Cup preliminary match. And just like I reminded Samson Siasia during his time that his team had only exhibited only 40 percent of what his dream performance was, I say same of Stephen Keshi’s team today.
Your article today is an interesting piece. Character is what is lacking in our national teams, not skills. When pride and indiscipline enter through the door, determination and knack for honor fly out through the window.
Die, Eagles die for Keshi was the title of Ade Ojeikere’s column on the eve of Nigeria’s match with Namibia in Calabar.
Callistus Ibare, with his camera man, put me on the ‘dock’ ten minutes before Nigeria engaged Namibia in Calabar.
It was a short but moving speech, one that made many flash back to the days when local sports commanded so much passion and made Nigerians proud of what they had.