By Paul Bassey
We have passed this road before, countless times.

The road where the players bus gets to a Carrefour and a player decides to jump the bus and take what he considers is his own way forward.

We have had in this country, super stars who dictate to the coach and by extension this country, the matches they want to play.

Barrister Green is not one to panic. When I got his call, he was calm and collected in delivering the devastating news that Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Kalu Uche were not going to be part of Nigeria’s important world Cup qualifiers and other matches.

I thought I should be scared. Confederations Cup apart, we need the best of our arsenal to be able to eliminate the Kenya menace and go on to confront Namibia,away matches all, in a world cup qualifying Group F where a slip will certainly spell doom..

The reason for their reported withdrawal was laughable. Barrister Green said they said they have injuries. Who? Moses injury? That Moses I saw and the pin point delivery of a headed pass that provided Torres with the clincher of a goal?

Barrister Green said he had been playing with an injury and now that the season was over, he needed some rest before going for an operation. Can I then suggest that if the season was not over in Europe and Chelsea needed two matches to make hay by guaranteeing the Champion’s League position and win the Europa Cup, Moses would have played on?

Those are the two matches ( Kenya and Namibia ) that this country is demanding from him. Enough of the club versus country row that has left us bruised and battered.

It will be foolhardy to push an injured player to aggravate his injury in the name of patriotism. No. my argument is that the same window and possibility that is open to a club should be extended to a country especially one that is hanging on survival thread.

That we are in this precarious world cup position is by no fault of our own. The same players who won us the Nation’s cup and got the appreciation and standing ovation of a whole country are the same players that flopped when Kenya came calling, and I believe it is the same players that must e resolved to get us out of jail by guaranteeing victory in Kasarani and Windhoek

Just yesterday, I was told that Mikel Obi who was supposed to also be injured to the point of not playing for country was seen by his coaches in a flawless 90 minutes for Chelsea and has now decided to make a U turn. He should know better.

Malawi, co group leaders with five points have the benefit of two consecutive home matches. We are therefore condemned to win our two away matches.

The Good Book in Ezekiel 37 talks about God’s ability to give life to dry bones. Mikel and Moses are living witnesses to the Nation’s Cup miracle where some chosen declined and dry bones rose up, were fleshed and triumphed.

Dear players “…..bring forth therefore good fruits, worthy of repentance……for God is able of these stones to raise up children (Players )unto Abraham ( Nigeria ) Luke 3:8


I was angry last week, very angry, to the point of committing “literary murder”, according to African Sporstwriting boss Mitchell Obi.

I wrote last week that “………..The guillotine was meant for those who in their false and bizarre calculations deceived that gold and other medals were going to be won aplenty” during the Olympics and prescribed that “they should be tied to sports stakes and shot.”

Then I got this call from the Honourable Minister. My reaction was fast. I said to the honourable minister that if it needs an article like the one I had just written to get him to call me, then I should be writing more of such, often. We laughed over it before he launched into the business of the day.

According to him, all the claims that the Chairmen of federations were returned wholesale was not true, that over ten chairmen lost their seats and some who won, did so by the skin of their teeth.

“ Let us have it on record that Chief Solomon Ogba returned to AFN after a keen election. In Cricket, Emeka Onyeama beat the incumbent Kwesi Sagoe, while in Table tennis Oshodi Enitan defeated incumbent Abdulwahab Omotosho.

“Jonathan Nnaji lost the Takwaedndo seat to George Ashiru, and the same scenario was played out in weightlifting where Chibudum Nwuche was preferred to former chairman Chimdi Ejiogu. Then of course, Daniel Igali triumphed in wrestling, knocking out ex president Austin Edeze.”

He pointed out some accusations that he favoured the retention of some chairmen, especially those from his state of origin. “ …..very spurious allegations. How many chairmen are from my state? Are you aware that Abdulwahab Omotosho who lost his Table Tennis seat is from Kwara? Yes he is”

The minister went on to say that the press should be fair to the Commission and give it some due. “ We are in a democratic dispensation where the majority are bound to carry the day, yet the National federations elections was not as bad as the media is making it appear……”

He is of the opinion that a lot of structures have been put in place to guarantee that henceforth, the business of sports administration will be radically different from what obtained in the past.

I say AMEN.

See you next week


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.