HOW many cases are there in court against Nigerian football? I do not know. How many times have courts given orders for a return to the status quo bellum? Again, I am unaware. Does the National Assembly know about decks of illegalities around Nigerian football, from nomenclature to norms? I suppose it does not know.

Sometimes I imagine that Nigerian football is doomed beyond retrieval. International results signpost this, administration confirm it, and the domestic league is in a spin that has left it reeling from blows it is taking from different sides.

I had thought that 2011 would have gone with the cases. More are popping up and the ones in court are moving from injunctions to counter suits. I do not bother to count. I was optimistic that the cases would be resolved. I thought that the interests of the game were bigger than petty squabbles over who had a chance at a position.

The state of the game in Nigeria is related to poverty of ideas and of the pocket. Individuals thinking of what to eat are eating the game. Either they do not know or their greed has overtaken them.

Relief is a long way off as the sports committees of the National Assembly maintain an uncomfortable relationship with duelling parties on football. They fail in their oversight functions on sports and football is the best example of this neglect. I do not know if the sports committees realise the enormity of their responsibilities and consequences of their roles in sports.

The greater danger for sports lies in our “calendar mentality.” We prepare for events; we do not have programmes that produce competitors, technical officials, coaches and the other complements of teams. To think that we would do well without thorough preparation is deceitful.

Adieu, Dr. Socrates

SOCRATES Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, Brazil’s 1982 World Cup captain, simply Socrates to the world, died last week aged 57. A medical doctor, Socrates was in the unfulfilled, yet held regarded Brazilian teams that had Zico, Junior, Falcao, and Eder. He played again in the 1986 World Cup

Winner of 60 caps with Brazil, Socrates scored 21 goals and held strong views on both football and politics. He endeared himself to most people my age with his fantastic use of the heel and we did not have to wait every World Cup to see him.

A chocolate beverage company then sponsored Brazilian football on television weekly. The weekly encounters with this legend were unforgettable.

Seeking Sokoto

SPORTS Minister Yusuf Suleiman has left the cabinet for more serious politics. Suleiman is seeking the ticket of his party for the governorship elections. He must be sure of his chances to leave his ministerial position or this is another of the indicators of the type of man he is – a risk taker once he puts his mind to an idea.

I wish him the best while we await his replacement.

Your Mail

FIRST, my sympathies on the demise of your dad. Just take heart and keep looking to the Almighty Father in heaven. I lost my own dad way back in 1963 and Chineke has been very kind to me until date.

I have been reading your articles for a long time and have just read online your recent one on Usain Bolt. No sane person will criticise you for the truth you wrote. I dare say Usain Bolt is bigger than Nigeria athletics wise. We win all our medals, football matches and other competitions on TV, Radio and pages of newspapers before we get to the field of action thus making a fool of ourselves. We rely so much on prayers by false prophets, babalawos and do maths to perform instead of planning, preparing, and executing to the letter our plans. Last night, Senegal that was well focused and prepared with more of home based players taught us a vital lesson even though we do not learn. How can we rely on so-called professionals who are benchwarmers in their respective clubs to do well? Did it not occur to Austin Eguavoen that their clubs quickly released them because they are not even on the reserve bench?

As usual, we will proceed to that giant drawing board to write nonsense, which may be the same old story with the same result ultimately.

My brother, we are not serious with anything including sports in this country. It is so so sad.

James Obi

[email protected]

My Comments

Our country is in trouble because we are not doing all the things that we can do. How can those who lead fail to know that Nigeria is no longer what it should be? I feel your sadness but we keep pushing, believing some day, someone, and somewhere will end the sadness. We have to remain focused and hopeful.


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