Posted: Mar 04, 2012
It was a match all Nigerians had looked forward to.
Posted: Dec 18, 2011
Four days ago, I was in Abuja when a Journalist called and informed me about the death of Sunday Bada. I was numb in pain and shock. My work for that day terminated immediately, followed by an explosion of questions. How? Where? When? What? No, Sunday Bada must not, and cannot, be dead
Posted: Dec 11, 2011
“Let me welcome you and thank you very much for visiting our State. I must say that you are very daring”.
Those were the words of Kashim Shettima, former banker, ex-commissioner, and now Governor of Borno State, to a 4-man delegation of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) which visited him last week in the state’s capital city that has been under siege in recent times.
Writing about Nigerian football and expressing an opinion these days has become very challenging indeed. Tempers flare up easily and passion runs very high. As these are obviously not the best of times for the game in the country and for all the national teams, it is even more difficult to comment without incurring the wrath of those whose responsibility it is to steer the ship away from storms and other obstacles. Within the corridors of football administration, our previous attempts to render candid opinions have been taken very badly and considered to be ‘poisoned chalice’. Our expressions have made some persons very uncomfortable and we have been ‘warned’ to steer clear. So, we concur.
I listened to Chief Adokie Amiesimaka, ex-international football player and one of the most erudite and informed commentators on Nigerian football, on Ray Power FM the other day. He said that Samson Siasia has been made the scapegoat of the present crisis in Nigerian football; that coaching is not the problem with the national team and that even if Nigeria were to hire the combination of Mourinho and Ferguson to handle the team, they would fail with honours given the circumstances presently around Nigerian football.
Thursday, October 27, 2011, will be a historic day in sports development in Nigeria. On that day a solid foundation for an authentic sports revolution will be laid. The capital city of Abuja will play host, for the first time in the country since independence, to a gathering of all 74 Commissioners of Sports and Education in the 36 States and the FCT and the Presidents of the 6 Sports Federations to be introduced to kick-start the academicals revival programme this year
Last week my instincts and fears, expressed on this page, were justified by the result of the match that saw visiting Syli Nationale of Guinea, force the Super Eagles to a draw, even if, in the end, unlike what I expressed in my column, the result had little to do with the weather on that day.
I do not like this match. Under normal circumstances no Nigerian would lose any sleep over a match against Guinea to be played in Nigeria in the year 2011. The two countries have not belonged in the same league in the past two decades. Searching through the archives of African football one would find that the Syli Nationale Stars once occupied the top rung of the African football ladder
Thinking about it, I really have no claim to authority on today’s subject matter. I am writing on a whim so small it diminishes to nonsense the more you look at it. Look up at the title of the article again. Are Champions made? Is there a process which when followed would make a person to be a champion? The answer to the last question is, perhaps, one of the great ‘secrets’ of life. Life has almost become an unending search for that secret formula.
These are the decisions of Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) set up by the National Sports Commission (NSC) at the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, to revive grassroots sports through schools. We speak on behalf of all Nigerians.
Kindly accept my belated congratulations on your election last April as leader of our great country. It has been over 100 days since then and I have been following with interest reports of the activities of your government in the period. Indeed I have been a participant at a very low level in promoting the cause of academics and sports in your government.
It is really painful that I have to write about this young sports reporter in the past tense. Ajibola Oni was a first-class sports reporter and radio presenter with the Abuja branch of Brilla FM, the only exclusively sports radio station in Nigeria.
Yakubu sent me this email after reading my piece last week. ‘Shankar Lee’, (that was my nickname in secondary school and Yakubu has not stopped calling me that some 40 years after), “no one seems to care or be bothered about the ages of the players” (quoting me from last week).’Yes, but this is more a function of the futility of the exercise than that of the righteousness of the deeds of the selectors of the team. Yes, 20 is quite mature in sports but not a single one of these men is 20 or below notwithstanding what their doctored passports say. Give them a few more years and most of them will go into soccer oblivion having succumbed to the natural process of ageing’.