By Patrick Omorodion
The last two weeks have not been too nice for Nigeria because her name was dragged in the mud, first by the age scandal which is threatening the existence of the present U-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets and then the drug scandal involving her athletes as well as their woeful performance at the just concluded IAAF Championships in Berlin, Germany.
What seemed like a rumour, as claimed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), turned out to be the truth. That some members of the U-17 team have been adjudged overaged after undergoing the now familiar Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test.
The NFF first said it was not true, then it later changed it to â€œwe have not received any such resultâ€. Later it became true but that only 16 players failed the test. Later this week, FIFA came out to say that 29 of the 36 players in camp actually failed the test. But instead of agreeing that it has goofed and appeal to Nigerians that a new team would be raised to participate in the competition. NFF secretary general is boasting that there is no problem, that the decision to test the players was theirs and not FIFAâ€™s.
The BBC, mostly relying on facts from the world body, said that FIFA actually picked six countries, Nigeria inclusive, for the testing of players and so one finds it difficult to place Ojo-Obaâ€™s boast.
As the whole nation awaits with baited breath, the embarrassment awaiting the country in a competition she is hosting, it is difficult to know how a new team would be raised to represent the country in the competition.
President of the popular Youth, Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Alhai Jamiu Ojulari, said that the federation is capable of presenting qualified players, like it did in the maiden edition of the competition in China in 1985, to represent the country.
Apart from the U-17 disgrace, the country was also embarrassed at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany where, instead of raking in medals, Nigerian athletes were enmeshed in dope scandals.
The country did not win any medal but her athletes returned negative results from the dope tests carried out on them. AFN president, Chief Solomon Ogba said the test were done after the NNPC/Mobil track and field championships from where the athletes were selected for the Berlin event.
No matter when the test was done, the fact is that the result which indicted three female athletes, Vivian Chukwuemeka, Gloria Kemasoude and Amaka Ogoegbunam prevented them from participating in Berlin and thus worsened Nigeriaâ€™s case in the Championship, returning without a medal, when Eritrea got a silver medal to be counted among the winning countries.