By Onochie Anibeze
On Wednesday, just as I made to start writing this column the news of the press conference addressed by Patrick Ekeji on the impasse reached me. Ekeji is the Director-General of the National Sports Commission. He had made efforts to resolve the matter.
He told the media that the matter would be taken to FIFA for resolution since the parties (NFF and NFA) did not agree to reconcile their issues.
Ekeji was quoted as saying that those who planned a parallel body were wrong but admitted that they raised issues which could not be swept under the carpet. The issues remain that Jarret Tenebe and co decided to form another body because the football house adopted another name, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, instead of Nigeria Football Association, NFA, which is the name recognised by law.
Last week, I made a brief remark about the attempt to form a parallel FA , noting that I needn’t waste space on what I felt amounted to nuisance. Now, from what Ekeji has said and the developments so far would you not see the hand of government? Or could it be that some people are just dropping the name of Mike Oghiadomhe, the Chief Of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan and scaring stiff those who could take decisive steps to restore peace to our football?
The news in football circle is that Jarret Tenebe is a friend of Oghiadomhe and he is enjoying the support of the Chief Of Staff to the President. I really don’t believe it but when Ekeji, the Director-General treat them with kid gloves you begin to wonder if it is not true.
Even the immediate past sports minister could not do anything about this. The change of name was wrong, no doubt. But would that warrant the forming of a parallel body? Can a group emerge today and say that they are forming a parallel government because President Jonathan has erred? Paul Bassey reminded us in his column that even the National Sports Commission has not been backed by law.
Should a group, therefore, emerge to form a parallel NSC? Must people who want to be in the football federation get there by all means? Why do we allow selfish interests to override national interests? Why can’t Tenebe and co go to court to challenge the change of name if that is the only issue rather than forming another body?
A group emerges and says it is forming a parallel FA and the ministry is sitting down with them to discuss? Discuss what? It is ridiculous. Ekeji even said that they would take the case to FIFA after efforts to resolve the matter failed. This is real comedy.
This is why people have really concluded that a bully in the name of government is behind this unless Ekeji himself is not being sincere as alleged by Effiong Johnson, the Chairman of Chairmen in the football federation. He alleged that Ekeji was behind the crisis. I also don’t want to believe that.
But what I cannot understand is why the NSC has not condemned attempt to form a parallel FA and followed their condemnation with action. If I were in their position, I would not go to FIFA to sort out this problem unless, somebody high in government is backing them. And even if it is so, there should be a way out rather than running to FIFA to further expose our troubled house.
That victory against Argentina!
Is Samson Siasia actualising his dream style for Eagles?
I feel it is still early to start assessing him. But from what I saw of the team against Argentina, I can say that he is on the right track.
When a coach is building a team, the results (victory or defeat) may not matter sometimes.
What is most important is the performance of the players. From technical point of view, you would want to know what their runs are like. Are they making the right runs? How are they attacking, defending collectively, individually and otherwise? What strength and weaknesses do they have in various areas? Generally, a coach would want to know how technically and tactically disciplined the team is.
I saw some good runs. I saw some collective marking but I also saw lapses. I saw Emmanuel Emenke swerve brilliantly to displace a defender but instead of laying a perfect assist swerved again and swerved himself out of control. It was a childish play. Moments later, his goal appealed to fans. Eagles were brilliant. Sometimes, opposition may not be absolutely significant when you are building a team.
The runs, positioning and ability to play to instructions matter. It helps a coach in his evaluation for if players make certain runs against a weak opposition, they may repeat them against a strong opposition even if not perfect. That’s why I’ll not emphasize on the missing Argentina stars.
I saw good runs against Argentina. Does that mean that the Eagles are now super? No. Far from it. But I think that they are on the right track and should be encouraged to remain steadfast.