“In men whom men condemn as ill, I find so much goodness.
Still in men, whom men pronounce divine, I find so much of loath.
I do not dare to draw a line between the two.”
– St. Joachim
In its lead editorial of Monday, June 17, 2019, the Vanguard was livid and unforgiving. The paper argued that “the failure of Coach Aigbogun and the U-20 national team can be viewed as a microcosm of the larger Nigerian situation where hardly any progress is being made for years, the country has been wallowing in clannishness, favoritism, incompetence and corruption and yet expects miracles to happen. Senegal with a population of 16 million (less than Lagos) has no business dominating Nigeria with our robust football culture and global accomplishment.’’
I was reading that Vanguard editorial and others a few hours to the Falcons clash with the French women team in Paris. I had watched part of the Norway vs France tie and watched the Nigerians’ speed-propelled, all-transitional game execution against the strong South Koreans. Nigeria this time around could not guarantee having the physical advantage. What would matter would be the level of commitment, the philosophy and the passion for the game exhibited by the players. Finally, France whose male team won the World Cup is playing their best women at home against the world! They do not seem to be lacking in preparation and with the best coach and supporting environment the French play for their country. I was, therefore, not very excited, so did not bother much to watch the match. Nigerian teams play football for money and the governors empty the taxpayers’ account to host the already fat Super Eagles and their greedy officials. I have asked these Governors of Rome to stop wasting our dollars on players whose weekly earnings compare with the emolument bonanza flowing into the babanriga pockets of our Senators of Rome.
As Nigeria is losing everywhere, the president of the Federation is busy posing, hyping around, brandishing the $50,000 cheque donated to ailing Christian Chukwu. Flown into England, the ubiquitous Amaju Pinnick, still clutching at the Otedola cheque, continued to publish the photographs of the struggling Chairman Chukwu all over the media. My friend, how dare you! You have the effrontery to launder around, put on the front pages of newspapers, with you taking the focal point of the lens, overshadowing the giants, exposing ludicrous appendage posses of attending governors who do not understand their office and the protocol guiding their offices, especially when they pose to take photographs with ballroom politicians. Somebody should immediately advise the Enugu governor never again to insult the Igbo, Enugu people, by sitting in a photograph depicting in less savory representation of Christian Chukwu, arguably the greatest African footballer of the century.
When he was tired brandishing Otedola’s cheque all over the place, the president of the NFF invited himself, second half at the semi-final of the Delta State FA. He sauntered in, just at the time the chairman of the council was leaving. He was leaving the Asaba Stadium in frustration. His team the Delta Force FC was finding the Asabatex FC difficult and, going by the records, the youthful Asabatex side was expected to “kill” the Delta Force in the second half just as they have done with other pro sides before the finals. The despondent chairman was comforted at the gate and pulled back to the stadium.
Before their own details, political appointees did not hide their plans and what they did in broad daylight to rob Asabatex in that memorable encounter. Football has never seen the type since the game was introduced to Nigeria by Powell, 1906.
The president’s own team, the Warri Wolves, was saved from massacre by a much conditioned Julius Atete FC, also from Warri, in the other semi-final when a total of two red cards and penalties were awarded against the latter as the Atete boys committed the mortal sin against these two gods for scoring first. Three days later, the striker for Asabatex was offered money and without any negotiations, bundled to play for Delta Force FC. Asabatex Captain Akaraiwe refused to be moved to Agbor and by fiat ordered to move to Warri Wolves. All the rest of the Asabatex squad with their coach forced to move to Agbor to start the chairman’s own team. The president was in Delta, Enugu and gallivanting to Lagos Channels watching the little boy’s tournament when Coach Aigbogun was in camp, alone with the boys without Coach Bala and other coaches who preferred to their paying clubs. The U-20 Coaches were not paid to camp and Nigeria never got to know why the coach accepted to stay without money but how come he didn’t hold his ground when from the top his squad got selected for him. When did his assistant coaches move in? Was it not when he had already arrived Warsaw?
Still strutting around, the president last week tried to corruptly influence the results of the Delta Football Association election. The gentleman had invited the new chairman Edema Fuludu and had privately asked him to step down for another bedroom Napoleon who in spite of his big office wanted against FIFA regulations to contest the chairman of the state’s football office.
The whole Delta Football delegates from all over the 29 local governments rushed to Warri and voted in Fuludu and Victor Ikpeba as the chairman and deputy chairman. At his swearing-in, the chairman promised that his board would never allow miscreants run football to the ground in Delta. Nigeria, get ready for the long overdue NFF probe.