Recently, Asabatex FC ended it’s remarkable run in the Delta FA Cup. The revelation of the tournament was Asabatex FC top 9, Jude Egbor Othuke. He was the tournament’s leading goal-scorer hitting the hat trick, and was awarded accordinly, at Oleh, during the quarter-finals against Warri’s Word of Life FC, a professional side sponsored by the former president of CAN, overseer-billioniare Ayo Oritsejafor.
Instead of taking them to Agric farming centres, the political boys that run around during election with politicans and do many odd jobs for them to win elections are now being posted to football clubs. These appointees have now decended on us and with the same mentality they employed in the field and during elections to secure votes for their masters, they dictate our fate in the football fields. Hence, in our neighbouring Edo State, Bendel Insurance of Benin is the FA champion and Edo Queens of Benin is also the women’s champions. The Deputy Governor is the chairman of the new Bendel Insurance FC.
Oh, yes, Bendel Insurance was top, and when I was a student at Edo College, the Challenge Cup, or what you now call the FA Cup, under Ogbemudia was an all-comers’ meet. Anybody could emerge, between Bendel Insurance or Stephen Keshi’s plus Henry Nwosu’s New Nigerian Bank FC or Osifo plus Dombraye’s P&T Rockets of Benin FC, or Warri Wolves FC, Asabatex or even Odozi Obodo of Ubulu-Uno. The referees, the environment, the government respected the game and anybody that won was acknowledged as the best. Spectatorism was at its best. Playing soccer at Ogbe Stadum was like playing at Wembley in England.
The Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, sent those boys to the cocoa farms when the elections were over. Dr. Micheal Okpara also sent all his political hoods to Nkwelle farms, Ohaji Palm settlement or Abakaliki poultry. Those icons knew how dangerous those wee-wee smoking youths could be to society if allowed to operate before a crowd engulfed in the emotional roller-coaster of watching the draining cascades of unpredictable football! These are the people we now see deciding the results, the matches, long before the referee calls the game. Both the federal and the state leadership in Rivers State do not understand the handling of those youths by those aforementioned icons. No wonder the carnage continues beyond PH. We have seen before now the unprofessional handling of League matches by our corrupt officials and referees. Unfortunately, the League situations have degenerated and, in the present FA encounters, money is openly offered to match officials and orders are given to them to influence the result of the matches. While the matches are something else channelled to waste money and kill spectatorism, the FA is now a carricature of football at play. While in the former, the referees subtly decided the result of League matches by awarding questionable penalties always against visiting sides, the FA matches, on the other hand, are decided by the little bedroom Napoleons who break the laws and regulations guiding football in broad-day light and tell everybody to go to hell.
Jude Egbor Othuke is the revelation of the FA tournament. Throughout the tournament, where Asabatex played from the prelimnaries up to the semi-final, Jude was scoring an average of two goals. In the two weeks we played against Delta Force FC, Othuke my franchise player was lured into the Delta Force FC donning jersey number 12 against Ifeanyi Ubah at Nnewi and yesterday again against Heartland FC of Owerri at Asaba. Our horrible experience against Delta Force during the semi-finals has been widely reported and we are still in shock recalling the wanton disregard of the rules of the game that led to our asking you to investigate that delibrate rape of justice. We have not recovered from that shock and without apologies my franchise player Jude Othuke is now wearing Delta Force jerseys few hours after he was awarded the highest goal-scorer playing for Asabatex FC in a season when the FA competition has not been concluded!
Your Excellency, please, forgive my audacity in bringing this to your table. Find time, sir, to call your managers to order and direct that the “Governor’s Team” do not, for any reason, continue to play the game and poach my players without sticking to the laws and rules guiding the game. It is a major faux pas to observe that, in one week, a player can feature for two rival teams based in the same city, when the FA competition for which Jude is registered to play in is still on for the 2019 season! Your Excellency, whatever happens, we believe that we have the same equal rights as citizens of this great state, and your kind intervention in this matter would go a long way in assuaging our ruffled nerves.
While we pray for your continued successes, may our feelings and wishes never obscure our mission and destiny.
•Prof. Emma Okocha, coordinator, Renaissance and Military Studies, Gregory University, administrator, GUO Asabatex FC