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Random sports jottings

By Paul Bassey

I woke up this   morning to the realisation that there were a lot of sports issues I could not put my fingers on. I woke up to see my phone inundated with text messages of readers seeking my views and opinion on issues they believe I could help.

How was I, Paul Bassey, going to tell my readers that I had no idea of the issues they were raising? As Chukwudi Evaristus put it, “ If, you have no idea, who, will have?”

Anyway, let me take some of the issues one by one and try to explain, to the best of my knowledge.

Coach Shaibu Amodu

I do not know why readers believe I have not taken a position on the decision of the NFF to stick with coach Shaibu.

Let me repeat that the day the NFF decided that Amodu was their man, I let drop. I am a disciple of foreign coaches for the mere reason that Nigerian players and officials have no respect for indigenous coaches. Whereas a white man will demand ten balls and get twelve, a Nigeria coach will beg for six and if he is lucky, gets three.

Players like Nwankwo Kanu will not have the audacity to suggest to a white coach who to field as he did Amodu recently.

Whereas a white coach will have all the time in the world to concentrate on his work, coach Amodu spends most of his time fighting perceived enemies even within the Football Federation.

If the NFF has therefore decided to stand by Amodu and take him to the World Cup, I respect and abide by that decision. The only problem I have is that  that decision has been tempered with a clause, hinged on his success in Angola Nations Cup.

If coach Amodu’s World Cup appearance will be decided by his Nation’s Cup result, then the young man will have no choice than to stick with the same old team that qualified him for the World Cup including the bench warmer and non-playing captain Kanu Nwankwo.

Come to think of it, for those of us who play the emotional card, claiming it will be unfair to drop coach Amodu after he had qualified us for the World Cup, how can he now turn around to drop any of the players that took him there?

I want Amodu’s World Cup ticket to be unconditional. I want him to be free enough to use Angola to build a team for the World Cup and to do this, he should be able to blood some more and younger players, try more technical options and as he does this we would have been forewarned and support him accordingly.

I want Amodu to decide whether he wants to beef up his technical arsenal. And with what personnel.

By the way, was it not sweet to to be told that our coach was the only African at the draw? Will it not be historic to have him as the only African coach at the World Cup?

The draw

If there was any doubt as to the ability of Africa hosting the World Cup, those doubts disappeared with the beauty of the draw put up by South Africa.

Talking to colleagues who were there, journalists who needed just two minutes to pick up their accreditations, who saw the President of South Africa strolling into the hall without even one aide, not even an ADC,  the conclusion is that we in Nigeria (with the millions we paid white security men for the U-17,) have a long way to go.

FIFA’s millions
It is not only in a World Cup year that FIFA makes millions of Dollars available to Football Federations all over the world. Most of those grants come for the development of the game, training and infrastructure yet are not utilized for the purpose.

Yes, the NFF has put a World Cup budget before us but let them admit that FIFA takes care of transportation feeding, insurance, medical and accommodation…… this billion naira budget, for what purpose?

Glo CAF Award

Time there was when Nigerians cried blue murder whenever CAF released the names of players nominated for players of the year. Last week, another nomination was due and silence ruled the land as no Nigerian was found fit to appear in the best five.

The current development has been interpreted and rightly too as a reflection of the standard of our football, one that has fallen and needs resurrection.

There has been some isolated voices, those craving for the inclusion of Mikel Obi among others. I ask, is this not the same Mikel that was rubbing shoulders with Lionel Messi at youth level? Today, the Argentinian is poised to becoming the best player in the world while Mikel is yet to score even a goal in Chelsea.

Goals apart, when will the “gifted” card prone Nigerian up his game from the predictable “he no go spoil for my hand” type of play where he does not hesitate to pass back the ball, the moment it gets to him?
Let us face reality. Nigeria as presently constituted does not boast great players yet we can develop a great team that can hold its own even at the World Cup.

TP Mazembe

Felt bad seeing TP Mazembe taking part in the FIFA World Club Cup instead of our own Heartland FC.

Funny side of life

I was reminded that last week there was nothing on the funny side of life. Last week there was nothing funny about a minister who wants to be a jack of all sports but master of none. This week, however, there is something to laugh about. It has to do with a committee set up by the minister to investigate allegations that some of the papers he filed for the NOC elections were funny.

Imagine this scenario. The minister puts some people together. He tells them “….They say I forged documents. I have brought you to investigate and tell me whether I forged those documents…”

I pity my good friend General Okaro. Head or tail he loses. Will he be bold enough to tell the minister that his papers were not proper? Will he lose his credibility and say those papers I saw were ok? Well I just heard that “peace” has been brokered so General Okaro’s reputation is no more on the line. I don’t want to laugh.
See you next week.


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