So much has been said and written about the recently held elections into the various sports associations in Nigeria.
Saturday, I came across this newspiece that said a Nigerian player had offered 50,000 dollars to his colleagues if they won a match.
Permit me to go back to Marakech, Morocco, venue of the just ended 10th Africa Under 17 Championship.
It came like a bolt from the blue. After 28 matches without defeat, capped with a 6-1 demolition of arch rivals Ghana, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria were brought down to mother earth with a thud.
“In one breadth you people say there is no money and start sacking coaches, in another breadth, you are interviewing and employing coaches. There is more to this than meets the eye…..”
Yes I am a FIFA Match Commissioner, CAF General Coordinator, Member Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, yet that is not enough excuse for the volume of thoughts I write on football in my column every week.
It sounded comical.That Jossy Lad, yes the same one, fell ill. That Oyo state government, had spent “four hundred thousand naira on him” without improvement.
Let me quickly say this morning that I will pre-tend nothing happened in Calabar. In far away Ghana, I could not watch the match live, so I had to depend on second hand information.
If I had my way, I would have banished this topic to the recesses of my personal history. In the words of the NFF President Alhaji Aminu Maigari, I would have taken this as one of those experiences needed to guide one through the slimy maze of one’s sojourn on earth.
I have been reliably informed that the Nigeria Football Federation has concluded arrangements to hold a pre-season Match Commissioners seminar in Abuja this week. What this tells me is that the March 9 kick off date of the Premier league may be a reality after all.
It was in the Punch Newspapers that I read about Chioma Ajunwa and the “Where was President Jonathan” drama.
One of the questions I was asked when I came back to Nigeria was, “who was your favourite Eagle?”
As CAF General Coordinator of Group A that had host South Africa, Cape Verde, Angola and Morocco , I was to move to Durban immediately after the opening ceremony and kick off in Johannesburg.
FOR brightening the dour face of Nigeria, for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians all over the world and raising their confidence level, the Super Eagles and their handlers deserve anything and everything that is being offered them.
Yesterday, we spoke about the glorious victory now sweeping through the land and the need to put all that is happening to us in perspective.
During the Nations Cup, the call of duty did not permit me to maintain my column. The General Coordinator at the Nations Cup, or what is simply regarded as GC, runs the tournament at the venues.
AFTER a nineteen year wait, nothing would have stopped me from the Presidential reception planned fo the Eagles last Tuesday in Abuja.
Just as the clock is ticking down to D day so are the butterflies in Nigerians stomachs flapping uncontrollably(?). The last thing I would have wanted to do is to go back to that match that lowered the expectations of Nigerians as regards our chances at the Nations Cup 2013. The English prefer to allow sleeping dogs lie. Not us. This dog, top dog cannot be allowed to lie. He must be on his feet, biting away!
2012 was a year ruled by an unparalleled Olympics disaster, one that beclouded all the accolades garnered by the Nigeria Football Federation as regards National Teams. Never in the history of our football did ALL the national teams qualify for the finals of all the continental competitions they entered for.
For now, let me join millions of sports followers all over the country in wishing fare well to Eko 2012, the 18th National Sports Festival that was officially brought to an end yesterday.
I live in Lagos. I counted myself lucky that this time I did not have to travel out for the National Sports Festival. This time the festival was to be brought to my doorstep.
In the next two weeks Lagos, host of the first and second National Sports Festivals in 1973 and 1975, will be the focus of Nigeria’s sports attention as all the states of the federation and Abuja run, jump, kick lift, swim and throw all in search of glory for their states.
Friday morning, on the eve of the grand finale of the CAF Champions league final between Esperance de Tunis and Al Ahly of Egypt, I was at breakfast with Lim Kee Chong of Mauritius and Rachid Medjiba of Algeria.
Week end, I read some funny stories credited to Coach Jossy Lad “blaming the NFF for Falcons poor showing in Equatorial Guinea” Going through the story I did not see any substance relating to what the NFF could have done that it did not do.
When the Speaker of the Delta State House Of Assembly Mr Victor Ochei came out to cite lack of patriotism and non allegiance to flag and anthem as one of the bane of our sports development, he did not have to search too far for examples.
Wedneasday morning I came across Stephen Keshi at the restaurant of the Suncoast Hotel in Durban. After brief exchange of pleasantries he had to go and freshen up after a long journey. We were to meet at the draw venue, later in the day, and talk.
Originally, I had wanted to entitle this week’s piece “ When victory is not enough”
While the Eagles were sweating it out in Calabar, I was away in Cameroun, Yaounde to be precise as a member of the CAF Delegation to the Nation’s Cup qualification match between Cameroon and Cape Verde.
Last Saturday at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu Ode, Sunshine Stars of Nigeria were involved in what was obviously their biggest continental match ever and the opposition don’t come bigger than Al Ahly of Egypt.