Posted: Aug 14, 2011
These Nigerian boys dey play football o”. So says Abdulazeez, my Nigerian friend visiting the country from his base in Gabon. He has been watching the Flying Eagles, the Nigerian Under-20 national team, in Colombia.
No one needs to tell me I am venturing into dangerous territory as the title above may already suggest. Indeed I am veering slightly away from sports and discussing what sport has revealed to me about Boko Haram (which in Hausa means ‘western education, forbidden’).
Japan is one third the size of Nigeria in land mass. Only 17 percent of this rugged land area is of any use. The country’s myriad of islands is mostly uninhabitable volcanic rock and jagged mountains hugging surrounding rough seas.
Posted: Jul 09, 2011
By the time you are reading this the National Sports Festival, the biggest sports event in Nigeria, going on in the city of Port Harcourt, would be about rounding off.
Some 2 weeks ago I came across an interesting document. Some embattled members of the Executive Committee of the “illegal” contraption called the Nigeria Football Federal filed a suit against the Inspector-General of Police
Posted: Jun 25, 2011
I recall. It is 1976. A Nigerian national football team visits China for the first time. I am in that team. The visit is the ‘compensation’ the Green Eagles receive for obeying the directive of their government to sacrifice their dream of becoming Olympians by boycotting the Olympic Games days after the team has settled down in the Olympic village and is poised to win the country’s first Olympic medals. We are on the verge of history and we know it clearly.
Posted: Jun 12, 2011
But let me start by apologising ahead of this piece. It is not my intention to disparage any one or any country. I am simply stating a personal opinion that may not necessarily be defensible in a court of law.
I guess it will be inexcusable for me not to comment on the hottest news in Nigerian sports as I write this. Twenty hours is a very long time in politics I am told, so no one should be surprised if by Saturday morning when reading this, so many new things have changed about the political landscape of Nigerian football.
I was in Abuja at the head of a delegation of members of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee, NASCOM, to submit the Master plan for the revival of sports competitions amongst secondary school students in Nigeria. This is an initiative of the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to restore the tradition of Academicals in the country. In 1960, the Nigeria Academicals Football championship (later called the Manuwa /Adebajo Cup) was introduced and for over two decades it promoted inter-secondary school, inter-regional, and inter-state competitions that threw up a large number of talented football players, many of who eventually played for the country's various national teams. At that time the tradition was restricted to football only even though other sports also had their own various regional and national competitions that were not called Academicals. The vision now is that the football academicals be restored, as well as 10 other sports, to start with, as a deliberate national programme to stimulate the return of sports to all schools, high level of competition amongst the best talents, and a feeder to higher institutions and the country's national teams. In short, the issue of grassroots sports development is being addressed through the schools system!
Nigeria’s national football teams have been doing well. At least that is what the results that all the various teams have been posting since the beginning of this year have shown. I have always said that Africa should never be Nigeria’s problem in most sports. With our natural gifts in physique and athleticism, plus our large population, selecting the best and defeating the rest of Africa should almost always never be a big issue!
Once again let me reiterate that I like Mr. Sepp Blatter. I admire him very much. He has done well for African footballers and African football. He has also done well for the game as a whole, taking its business to unbelievable heights. His three terms as President have influenced the growth of the game very significantly particularly in Africa even though probably not enough. His introduction of the FIFA Goal-Project was a great idea that football federations in Africa continue to benefit from.
Posted: Apr 02, 2011
It was a good start. Last Sunday Nigerians were ecstatic with the victory of their beloved Super Eagles in a one-sided match against the Antelopes of Ethiopia. The celebrations all over the country were as if Nigeria had just won the Nations Cup. They reminded me of a similar situation almost 20 years ago during the Barcelona Olympics. Nigeria’s 4 X 100 female relay quartet had run a blistering race and had come either third or fourth, a situation that would have to be settled by a photo-finish technology. Waiting for the replay on the stadium screen had held everyone in the stadium and viewers around the world in nerve wracking suspense. All eyes were glued skywards in anticipation of the television replay that would determine who came third (not first!).
Posted: Mar 05, 2011
Last week my friend called me up from Khartoum. He was in the Sudanese capital to cover the 33rd Ordinary Assembly of CAF, one of a myriad of international football events he has been covering for an entire army of media organisations and agencies for over two and a half decades including the BBC, Four-Two-Four, World Soccer, Voice of America and so on.
Last Wednesday’s match has come and gone. There is not much to write about it except that it was a great relief for Lagosians that international football may return to its ‘home’ with Samson Siasia in charge. Samson himself is a product of the incomparable Lagos crowd that would cheer, boo or just remain silent, all in equal measure, in the course of a football match depending on how their beloved team is playing. There was not much to cheer or boo on Wednesday night.
So, Davidson Owumi’s case was finally dismissed by the Federal High Court in Lagos last Wednesday. Any celebration by those who may think they have won against him may turn out to be premature. When you look closely at the issues involved in the dispute that took Owumi to court in the first place you will find that his removal as the Chairman of the NPL board compounds and complicates the whole matter rather than resolve it.