An open letter to Onochie Anibeze

By M.O. Udeh, Enugu
I commend you on your in-depth football analysis, and all embracing reportorial coverage of football matches played by the national teams on foreign lands. You always cover the extra mile, prowling behind the battle lines to assemble privileged information to back up your reports and analysis.

.Your piece titled “UNDERSTANDING KESHI ON IKE UCHE AND OSAZE” published in the 14th March edition of the Vanguard newspaper was a master piece and a reference point. You explained the exact meaning of the phrase “TECHNICAL INDISCIPLINE of Players to the understanding of the ordinary reader.

Keshi could not have done a better job than you did. Stephen Keshi in always cagey, polite, diplomatic and stingy in his choice of words to explain the rationale guiding his invitation of players to camp for national assignments.

Osaze Odewengie and Ike Uche
Osaze Odewengie and Ike Uche

When Keshr told us that he did not see the justification in inviting Captain Joseph Yobo to camp only to sit him on the bench, all he was trying to convey was that Yobo’s performance had dwindled and that Yobo should step aside for the younger generation of defenders who effectively took over from him in South Africa during the Nations cup^.

Did we all not witness the fact that the Supper Eagles defence, was wobbling during the preliminary group matches when Yobo was fielded?

Did we not see the difference when he was withdrawn and substituted with youthful Omeruo and Co? The defence clicked since then.

That episode informed Keshi’s decision not to invite Yobo while building his new team.

But both Yobo and his backers are not impressed. They insist that Yobo must continue to be featured until he wears his 100th cap before stepping aside, in spite of his dwindling performances. Yobo ought to borrow a leaf from Keshi, or Christian Chukwu, or J.J. Okocha each of whom had captained the Super Eagles and stepped aside for younger players without bothering about the number of caps they wore playing for the Super Eagles.

My admiration for you, Onochie Anibueze, is heightened not only by the depth of your analysis, but also  by the fact that you lace your analysis with remedial prescriptions to assist erring players to regain their bearings in the national team. The tips you gave to Ike Uche to reconcile with Keshi by assuring Keshi of his readiness to play to instructions was sound. Uche should heed it.

I did not understand why Ike Uche could not click in South Africa until your simplified explanation of the nature of his problem.

Super Eagles need other striking finishers to pair with Emenike and Complement his solo forays into opponents goal areas on goal poaching exploits.

The injury – prone Dike has again been side-lined by a recent injury which he picked up while playing for his Canadian Club. He will not be available for the World Cup. If Ike Uche reconciles with Keshi and submits to play to instructions, Keshi may reconsider him for further trials before the World Cup proper.

Tribute to Dr.  Uduaghan

By Dr. Sadiq Abdullahi, Florida, USA


Dr. Uduaghan, please permit me to use this medium to congratulate you on your  award as Vanguard Newspapers’ Personality of the Year and for all your successes as leader of your people. This is an extension of the Uduaghan story from my perspective.

I was moved by Onochie Anibeze’s piece on Vanguard Online published on March 21, 2014 titled: As Uduaghan mounts the stage tomorrow… and decided to write this open tribute to commend you for the “love of the tennis” and for your service to Delta state and to the nation.

You have exemplified an exceptional, visionary and transformational leadership as evidenced by all the awards, acknowledgments and recognition at various events, climaxing in last week’s Vanguard Newspaper awards. Anibeze’s persistent write-ups about your vision, mission, and contributions to sports and its development and improvement in the State of Delta have informed us a lot about you. At times, I was critical of Anibeze’s writings on sports in Delta state. I can no longer hold what others are saying about your personality and character.

We have several things in common. One of which is the love of the game of tennis. Tennis continues to provide the exercise to improve our physical, intellectual, and spiritual health as God continues to guide and provide wisdom and direction in our lives. Nduka Odizor shared a story of your kindness and generosity, and now Rolake Olagbegi is working with coaches to return tennis to the glorious past. Delta state has been the hub to tennis and it should return to that form.

Anibeze and others have done an excellent job chronicling your accomplishment in an attempt to answer the question, how has he done in sports? Based on published reports you have accomplished the following:

You have developed sports to become an instrument of national unity and piece;

You have utilized state resources, both human and capital, to boost the state’s image nationally, regionally, and internationally;

You have encouraged individuals and corporations to sponsor athletes and their coaches to competitions;

You have encouraged and challenged athletes, coaches, technical officials, sports scientists, sports medicine practitioners, sports administrators, and sports writers to show best practices;

You have used sports to generate employment and create wealth for the state;

You have encouraged mass participation at the local and state leading up to private sector investment;

You have regained public confidence in sports in the state and at the national level;

You have empowered your sports commissioners to develop sports at the grassroots, particularly at the primary and secondary school levels.

Anibeze is right. “Delta is the number one state in sports development”. As you leave office in 2015 to take on other challenges, we pray that you continue to grow sports in a country that is in search for leadership, direction, and focus. Delta state has done its part and has become a model for other states. I am looking forward to a double match because you are “also a very good doubles player.” Congratulations!


Last week, I erroneously wrote that Blessing Okagbare won bronze in the 100m of the last World Championships. Blessing’s feat was in the 200m and not 100m. The error is regretted. Thanks to Joseph Jeroh who pointed this out to me.


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