By Paul Bassey
Saturday, I came across this newspiece that said a Nigerian player had offered 50,000 dollars to his colleagues if they won a match.

I read further.

“I promised the whole team 50, 000,000 dollars if they qualify for the world cup in Brazil” Ememike told mtn football

“Like I said before that we have a team who can make this country proud, and I’m doing this from the bottom of my heart to motivate the team. I’m not doing this to intimidate anybody but just to show my total support to the team because I grew up supporting the Super Eagles.”

He added: I’m really behind the team. I don’t want them to miss me because there are other players who can get them the goals.

“Before I decided to play for Nigeria, even before I dreamt of becoming a professional footballer, who I am today by God’s grace I have been a passionate fan of the Super Eagles.

“I could remember when I used to watch the team way back in 1994 Nations Cup and World Cup, and I am speaking today as a Super Eagles player, it is an honour, so the team means a lot to me that is why I deem it fit, to support in my little way.

“I never knew I will play for Nigeria. This is a reward for what I have done in Europe and its time I support my country ever more.”

Wait a minute. Is this story true? I must be dreaming. There is no gainsaying the fact that I have read things like this and experienced such in other climes. Emmanuel Adebayor time and time again had to play father Christmas , bailing out his country from financial straits by offering to pay allowances and bonuses. In Cameroun Samuel Etto did same, offering incentives, providing plane tickets to ferry his fellow players down for national team duty. What about Didier Drogba the worshipped Cote D’ivoire Star who has gone a step further to use his position to bring political peace to his country and is now in the process of putting back into the society of his birth with the establishment of a world class football academy.

Before them, George Opong Weah was legendary in the support of the Lone Stars and he singularly made sure that his country did not withdraw  from any continental engagement due to lack of funds. If you are wont to argue that all the foregoing had the means given their mega star status, what about the Sierra Leonian Mohammed Kallon who in a rare show of patriotism decided to shoulder single handedly all the financial football woes of his country?

These are examples that I can quote and defend, examples that do not apply to our country. I stand to be corrected! We have had in this country, mega stars of world football yet I have not come across a situation where any of them has either refused to collect his bonuses, given them out to charity or ….whatever. What has happened over time, again and again is the case of our players blackmailing the authorities to get their bonuses paid or else……can you tell the Nigerian player that you are broke and will please want to halve his bonus? I pity you. Not only will all hell be let loose….You don’t want to have the next match played!

So, this story hit me….straight from the blues. When I discovered that I was not dreaming, I decided to check other newspapers to confirm same, that Emmanuel Emenike, a professional of “yesterday” was ready to dole out about eight million naira of his money in appreciation to his colleagues should they qualify for the World Cup.

True story……true story

Here is a young man who through injury is out of a team that depended on him for goals and has not only decided to motivate them psychologically but has added incentives in cash. This is a lesson that is not lost on me, one that motivates me further, that in this country there exists young men and women whose premium on money does not over ride the purer virtues of selflessness and patriotism.

I pray for just two Emenikes… on the field, banging in the goals for Nigeria and the other out of it, teaching us lessons of life.

With due respect to the Jossy Lads of our football who gave their all at a time money was not the rule of the game, I have always felt very indifferent to those who milk this country dry through bonuses and allowances only to call on us in the future to “remember their labours”. Labours that were handsomely paid for?

Thank you Emenike and get well soon.

 That Baba retirement

Yesterday at the Theatre of dreams it was mixed feelings galore as the greatest club in the world Manchester United officially collected their unprecedented 20th League trophy and bid bye to a legend of the sport, Sir Alex Ferguson.

I need pages to write about this man whose policy of youth development is unparalleled. A man who shocked a world that has “lost hope” in his retirement, but who like the British Prime Minister David Cameron are celebrating because “ Ferguson’s retirement is joyful news for all football clubs in England except Man U. His achievements at MUFC have been exceptional. Hopefully his retirement will make life a little easier for my team Aston Villa “


Will get back on this, I promise.


See you next week



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