Sunday October 26th, 2014
Sunday October 26th, 2014
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Who are these court jesters, for God’s sake!

  /   in Sports Bassey 1:22 am   /   Comments

BEFORE THE CRACK: Dr. Rafiu Ladipo (m) raises the hands of Chief Mike Umeh (l) and Aminu Maigari after their election in 2010.

Incidentally, the expression “court jester” has no relationship with a court of law. Rather it is a term used in the Middle Ages to describe a professional CLOWN (capitals mine ) employed to entertain kings and queens and noble men…..

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Patrick Okpomo house

  /   in Sports Bassey 1:45 am   /   Comments

League

At the last Delta State Challenge Cup, I had the privilege of being honoured by the Delta State FA as a contributor to the development of football in Nigeria.

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‘…Let us develop our football’

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:31 am   /   Comments

Nigeria's forward Peter Odemwingie (3rd-R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Group F football match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Hercegovina at the Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 21, 2014.  AFP PHOTO /

I have been away from the maddening crowd. D spite constant up to date briefings from my friends back home, I will today run away from writing what I consider “unique madness of the game” in Nigeria, until I take time to study the situation better.

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Glasgow 2014: Random thoughts

  /   in Sports Bassey 6:40 pm   /   Comments

Stephen-Mezie

Glasgow, Seventeen sports, eleven days, Blessing!
That for me is the summary of the 20th Commonwealth Games that ended in Glasgow, Scotland yesterday.

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Sweeping Brazil 2014 under the carpet

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:12 am   /   Comments

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama saves a shot by Paul Pogba of France.

Last week, Thursday to be precise, the demolition process commenced.
Alhaji Aminu Maigari was booted out by his own board. Before now, all arguments that this board was perhaps the most successful in the history of Nigerian football fell on deaf ears. The simplistic answer was that “…..what goes round must come round.”

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FIFA BAN: Why my heart bleeds

  /   in Sports, Sports Bassey 9:10 am   /   Comments

Tamuno Danagogo, Sepp Blatter and Aminu Maigari

Last week Monday, I wrote in my column in the Vanguard Newspapers that we will be banned by FIFA. The closing paragraph was “…..Let no one be deceived that the bluff of a FIFA sanction can be called. It will paralyse football in this country, turn us into a pariah state and hit the youth of this country who will be thrown out of all football competitions until we learn to operate by the rules “

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No, ….Not again

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:24 am   /   Comments

Tamuno Danagogo, Sepp Blatter and Aminu Maigari

I was convinced that last week was the best time to go watch the World Cup, so off I went to Brazil, with the intention of taking in the match against France and from there, who knows?

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France beatable despite solid midfield

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:29 am   /   Comments

France celebrates after scoring a goal against Nigeria at Brazil 2014.

I would have loved to start this column without commenting on the distraction that has become an African phenomenon.

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It had to be Osaze. . .

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:25 am   /   Comments

Nigeria's forward Peter Odemwingie controls the ball during the Group F football match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Hercegovina at the Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO

Call it poetic justice, call it what you will, it had to be Osaze.

The fair skinned boy of a Nigerian father and Russian mother had so much to prove and on Saturday, fate gave him a helping hand. He defended, attacked,sprayed passes and struck at will, roving all over the place to the delight of his country men and women.

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Super Eagles, no excuses… this is it

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:45 am   /   Comments

eagles-brazil

As at Saturday evening when I sent in this piece, the World Cup was on its head. Twenty eight goals in eight matches with thirteen of them scored in four matches on Saturday.

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USA defeat and other friendly matches

  /   in Sports Bassey 1:52 am   /   Comments

UNITED STATES, JACKSONVILLE : JACKSONVILLE, FL - Forward Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States shoots and scores his second game of the game behind defender Joseph Yobo #2 of Nigeria during the international friendly match at EverBank Field on June 7, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. AFP

Saturday, I happened on the Nigeria match on AIT.
My family was asleep. Silence all around me as the Eagles took to the offensive. Needed to share this rejuvenation with someone. Yes, I said to myself, this, was our World Cup team.

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Nigeria, match-fixing and the Austin Ejide video

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:02 am   /   Comments

THE PATRIOT . . . A Nigeria fan holding a placard is embraced by a Scotland fan before kick off

So much has been written on the Nigeria-Scotland match that I rather move on.
The plans to write on Coach Keshi’s final list of 23 was not helped by the fact that by the time this column was sent in, the list had not left the coach’s head.

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….The list….. give us the list….

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:15 am   /   Comments

Coach Stephen Keshi

Mark Anthony: Let but the commons hear the testament which pardon me, I do not want to read…..For they would go and kiss dead Caeasr’s wounds and dip their napkins in his sacred blood

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Pressing the Falcons panic button

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:23 am   /   Comments

Super Falcons at their training for Nation's Cup in Abuja on Tuesday

Twice in four weeks I have had to write on the women game in Nigeria. The last time, I remembered how I was there to cover the first ever Women World Cup in China over 23 years ago and how the game held great promises for Nigeria.

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Beware of Bosnia, says FIFA expert

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:10 am   /   Comments

Bosnia-team

Walter Gagg is a FIFA Director with incredible knowledge of the round leather game.

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…That I did not write last week …

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:19 am   /   Comments

The Nigeria Team Group during the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup match between Nigeria and North Korea at the Hasley Crawford Stadium on September 5, 2010 in Port of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths - FIFA/FIFA )

Yes I did not. You may want to ask, “so what?” Exactly. For one reason or another, Columnists fail to write regularly. I try as much as possible to tell my bosses (Onochie and Tony) in advance, so that they can help me apologise to my readers.

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Bayelsa United and the Al Ahly challenge

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:18 am   /   Comments

Bayelsa-United-fc

With World Sports on CNN, I have just rounded up one hell of a football crazy Saturday that started with Manchester United thumping Aston Villa 4-1, after the fans had decided that the team will be better off without David Moyes on the bench. ( I agree )

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Not hosting to win

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:10 am   /   Comments

Governor Imoke

Last Friday, I was in Calabar for the Unveiling of the Mascot, Logo, Theme Song and Web site of the 19th National Sports Festival rechristened the “Centenary Games” This event was significant in many ways. For one it was the official kick off of the Games and keen watchers were quick to assume and rightly too that its delivery could be a signpost of what the actual Games will be.

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Eagles: Manager, coach, trainer, who? The Agbamu puzzle

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:03 am   /   Comments

Henry Agbamu

Henry Agbamu is the chairman SCOA Nigeria PLC. His knowledge of football is uncanny, so much that he is quick to tell you “ I am in the wrong profession. I should have been a coach, not selling cars…..”

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Thanks Bolaji…. farewell Nwako…. Sad sad Enyimba

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:10 am   /   Comments

Bolaji Abdullahi,Sports Minister

I was not supposed to be shocked by the ouster of Sport Minister Bolaji Abdullahi. Given the political atmosphere, we saw it coming. Some only prayed for a miracle of sorts…..no wonder it made headlines.

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Al Ahly as metaphor for success

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:44 am   /   Comments

football1

Before jumping into this week’s column I will take space to write about last week, a week in which readers reacted in their hundreds, to “ Much Ado About A Foreign Technical Assistant”further proving that when the topic is football, Super Eagles, Keshi, Nigerians can be passionate to a fault.

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Much ado about “foreign technical assistant”

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:45 am   /   Comments

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi with Home Based Super Eagles at a News Conference at the Eagles' Camp in Abuja

There was no way I was going to write my column this week without commenting on an issue that descended from the blues and spread like wild bush fire.

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Pa Ojidoh’s last interview

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:10 am   /   Comments

Pa Ojidoh

Whenever Linus came round, of course you can trust that the topic will be football unlimited. This Friday, in the course of our discussion, Linus drew my attention to my last column in the Vanguard, especially the one that had to do with Keshi wearing a suit on the bench during the world cup.

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Of green jerseys, Ejike’s resurrection and a glorious bronze

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:34 am   /   Comments

uzoenyi-eagles

No sooner had the Eagles walked out against Morocco in white jersey than Nicodemus rang me. I ignored him. He rang again and again and finally resorted to sending a text. “………Oga Paul, we should not have worn white. We should not. We will not win this match. We should have worn green ”

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In Dammam, Keshi’s suit Matas a great Li

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:21 am   /   Comments

Home-Eagles-11111

On Saturday, three goals down, I had promised my friends that I was not going to write about the match. “ Win some, lose some,” I surrendered.

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Super Eagles: SWOT and Brazil 2014

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:50 am   /   Comments

Nigeria's footballers pose for the official picture before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B football match against Tahiti, at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte on June 17, 2013. (Standing L-R) Midfielder John Obi Mikel, defender Uwa Echijile, defender Efe Ambrose, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Anthony Ujah and midfielder Fegor Ogude. (First row, L-R) Forward Nnamdi Oduamadi, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, forward Ahmed Musa, midfielder Sunday Mba and defender Godfrey Oboabona.   AFP PHOTO

It was my intention to share with you this week, an experience I had with one of the African Coaches who did NOT vote Mikel Obi. According to him “……….Forgive me, it was an individual award. It was like asking a coach, between Mikel and Yaya, who would you sign for your team in 2013? The answer definitely will not be Mikel. On your argument that he won the Nations Cup with Nigeria, Mikel for me was not the best Nigerian player. I rate Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses above him in terms of contribution to Nigeria’s success. Europa? Which one is that?

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Agbim…Oh…Agbim

  /   in Sports, Sports Bassey 12:45 am   /   Comments

Chigozie Agbim

For a country that is on the ascendancy in football, one that is getting used to winning, Saturday was a disaster, to say the least.

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Keshi’s World Cup army

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:30 am   /   Comments

File photo: Nigerian players pose prior to the 2013 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match Mali vs Nigeria AFP PHOTO

Two news pieces last week have influenced this column which incidentally is the first in the new year.

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Review of Sports in 2013….. What Sports?

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:00 am   /   Comments

wheelchair-tennis

If you are a member of the sports fraternity, occupying one post or the other, you must have been approached by the media, whose interest is stereotype, has been predictably stereotype at a time like this.

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That Manchester City misadventure by Iheanacho

  /   in Sports Bassey 1:27 am   /   Comments

Kelechi Iheanacho

Last Tuesday, I was in my car, when I happened on a discussion on Brila FM. The topic had to do with the evaluation of the reported trip of Kelechi Ihenacho to ManCity for trials.

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That ‘favourable’ World Cup draw

  /   in Sports Bassey 1:01 am   /   Comments

Fifa-Draw

Two key phrases rule sports draws all over the world. The first is what is called “The luck of the draw” while the other is “group of death “

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The vexing Keshi question(s)

  /   in Sports Bassey 12:44 am   /   Comments

Keshi

I had set out to entitle this week’s column Diary of a football traveler ( whatever that means). I wanted to use the column to talk about very interesting experiences as I jumped in and out of planes in the course of my football assignments.

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