Friday, November 28, 2008
The Gunners are 10 points behind Scolari's Premier League leaders, and are down in fifth place.
But scolari thinks they still have a chance. Hear him, "Even if you're 15 points clear with five games to go, you're not champions. You're only champions at the end of the last game.
"This is a big game. Wenger's team play football, so it's difficult to win."
"This is the first time I'll have played against Wenger," said the Brazilian, who was appointed as Chelsea boss in June but who used to coach in Japan alongside the Frenchman in the 1990s.
"I met him for the first time in Japan - he's been my friend for 10 or 12 years now.
"I like him as a coach. If I chose five coaches in the world as the best, he'd be one of the five.
"I watched their game against Manchester United and it was one of the best games in the Premier League. This game against Chelsea will be like that as well."
Chelsea will be without their point man Didier Drogba, who is serving a three-match ban for throwing a coin at Burnley fans during Chelsea's shock Carling Cup defeat. He is however, being properly replaced by Anelka.
Drogba is back in the news and his touted to be planning to move to Inter Milan come the summer transfer window.
But Scolari, thinks Drogba is still very much in his plans.
"Every minute in the day, I think he's happy," he added.
"He has my support every day - injured or not injured. I'm sure he's 100% committed to the club.
"All I know is that he can't play against Arsenal. I have to be thinking about the Arsenal game, not what might happen in 2010 or 2011."
On the other end, Manchester City is still waxing in the Euphoria. AC Milan superstar Kaka has opened the door for a move to Manchester City and a link-up with his Brazilian team-mate Robinho.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Earlier today, news came filtering that Cesc Fabregas has been named the new Arsenal Captain. Many people including myself believe it is long overdue but that is suprising especially when you consider his age.
Many people say he is young, but forget that he is the best player Arsenal has, at his aged he seems to have seen it all.
Winner of the golden both in U-17 world cup, has played in the champions league final, 2008 Euro Cup winner and many other first including becoming the youngest player to play for arsenal in the league.
His dedication is not in doubt and his elevation is one event Arsenal fans all over the world has been waiting for.
Ever since i started watching watching, i have never known a captain more hated by the Fans than William Gallas.
Well he had it coming.
Cesc Fabregas has described his elevation to the Arsenal captaincy as “a great honour”.
The Spaniard was handed the armband on Monday as a replacement for William Gallas.
At 21, Fabregas is one of the youngest captains in the Club’s long history and he admits it will be emotional experience to lead the side out for the first time against FC Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night.
"It is a great honour for me to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world,” said Fabregas. “It is a proud moment. I know it's a big responsibility but together with my team-mates, I know we have the spirit and commitment to get back to winning ways and fulfil our potential."
Let;s wish him well and hope he lifts the team to greater heights.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Within 24 hours Nigeria's football teams, male and female put out an uninspiring display in Cali, Columbia and Malabo, Equitorial Guinea respectively. Well the Falcons are in danger of not qualifying from the tournament's group stages for the first time. For the falcons, commentators across the country have given several reasons why the Falcons have played two games against Ghana and Tunisia and garnered just 2 points. They now must win against a well poised South African team who defeated Ghana 2-1. Whether that is possible is yet to be seen.
In Far away Cali, Columbia, a more appalling situation occurred, though it was a friendly match, it was enough to show that as usual we are set for failure to qualify for the world cup, and if we do qualify,it may be just another charade of just showing up to be counted in the world cup without any genuine intentions to create an impact. That will be true if we continue the way it is currently. Yes, we missed some players but when i saw the line up, it was actually a 'strong' team that set out to play in Cali. With the likes of Austin Ejide, Onyekachi Apam, Danni Shittu, Taye Taiwo, Christian Obodo, Sanni Keita, Solomon Okoronkwo, Chinedu Ogbuche, Ikechukwu Uche, Uche Kalu, Kanu Nwankwo, Obina Nsofor, Yakubu Ayegbeni all featuring, the technical crew probably has no excuse as far as availability of players is concerned. Nigeria is such a big football nation that, the absence of John Mikel Obi, Joseph Yobo, Obafemi Martins, Osaze and Vincent Enyeama alone should be insignificant.
For the entire duration of 90 minutes i think the super Eagles was at the receiving end. If anyone has a contrary opinion, it could be that i was watching a different game. I set the alarm on my Nokia E61 phone to wake me up at exactly 3.00 am and as expected it didn't fail me(i was sure its traditional 70s ring tone will wake me up). The reason i was so determined to watch this game was so i can have a fair idea and opportunity to give the players and technical crew an unbiased judgement. The team's performance this morning was far below average. They played with no aggression to win and sparingly troubled the Columbian goalie. Whereas Austin Ejide was called to action from the start to finish and i must say that he made some silly mistakes but who wouldn't under that amount of consistent pressure from an obviously superior Columbians.The fact that the score line stayed that low was mostly due to his heroics at goal; I think the players did all they could especially in defence where Danny Shittu and Nwaneri were never allowed a moment of rest as Camilla kept probing centrally.
For some reasons the midfield just didn't click and even when Nsofor tries to make a run along the lines, such runs always ended abruptly probably due to lack of ideas as none seems to be coming off the bench. Nwankwo Kanu was thoroughly marked and kept quiet for 90 minutes.
A more disgraceful event was Sanni Keita's sending off as the team and the entire bench protested what i think was a beautiful goal scored by the Columbians- a well deserved one- it was just a matter of time. I was really surprised! They all protested so vehemently i started doubting what i saw despite watching four replays of that goal. AIT wasn't very clear on my TV so I hope to have a fifth look at that goal. They just might be right but even if they were and the game ended goalless, we have seen enough already to know that the technical crew has nothing to offer Nigerians
We have been celebrating wins against teams like Uganda, south Africa and Equitorial Guinea and for me, this was Amodu's first real test. Who isn't doing something right, Amodu, NFF or the Players? Definitely not the players!
Please leave your comments.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the latest fashion statement out of Italy, soccer players are dropping their shorts to score goals.
Catania, a team in the country’s top division, unveiled the new look while taking a free kick. The players lined up in a wall and dropped their shorts in an effort to block the goalkeeper’s vision.
The Sicilian team carried out the maneuver to perfection Sunday. Three players dropped their shorts practically to their knees so Torino goalie Matteo Sereni couldn’t see the kick by Giuseppe Mascara, who scored during Catania’s 3-2 victory.
Catania is coached by Walter Zenga, a former goalkeper on Italy’s national team.
“This is a strategy that Zenga tries continually in training,” Pietro Lo Monaco, the club’s chief executive, told RAI state radio Monday.
Former referees coordinator Paolo Casarin called the move “unsportsmanlike and in bad taste.”
“It’s a trick that should not be tolerated anymore by the referees,” he said.
Lo Monaco replied: “A trick? I wouldn’t say so. It’s up to the referee to decide if it should be penalized, otherwise I don’t see where the problem is. … Good taste is relative.”
The crisis of administration is in Nigerian Football Federation is about to bring us another national disgrace. There is the tendency to want to blame players when they refuse to honour National Call-ups for games especially when we are playing friendly matches. Then you wonder if John Terry or Lampard will give excuses just because England has a friendly game with Estonia or Belarus.
In all of this i still choose to blame the football officials in this country for failure to do what they need to do to instill discipline in the team. Amodu Shuabi is one coach in this country that has been recycled as Super Eagles coach more than any other and in all of these occasions has failed to show adequate grasp and control of his players. The choice of Amodu is wrong and will always be wrong. I have said that before on this blog and I am saying it again. Soon the honey moon period of playing teams below FIFA's Top 50 ranking will be over and we will begin to see the true team Amodu claims to be preparing to take us to 2010. He has failed many times in the past nothing so far shows he has improved.
Any discerning coach will make his players understand one thing, that football is a team game and if you do not work as a team on and off the pitch, there would be no place for such players in the team come the next qualifying game. But our quick fix attitude will never give way for proper planning and implementation of policies. It was due to refusal to honour national call-ups for friendlies like this that Nigeria lost for the first time in history to South Africa.
If we have a rule book, it should be adhered to. To this extent, nobody has to complain when players refuse to honour invitation for matches but punish offenders according to the rules. Where no exceptions are allowed, players will fall in line. Amodu does not have the guts to do that, neither does the NFF and so we will continue like this for a long time.
We should be ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to build a strong. I said this when we still had 4 years before 2010. But right, we have less that 2 years left. Do we really want to have an impact in 2010?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The management committee of Kano Pillars Football Club has sacked the club’s goalkeeper traineer, Ali Muhammad Zoff and redeployed Coach Abdu Ahmad Pele to the State Sports Council for what it described as part of re-organization in the team.
According to the source close to the club management, the decision took place on Monday after Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima presided over the meeting between the Continental Committee and the club management as part of the plan to repositioning the team both in the Nigerian League and CAF Champions League.
Daily Triumph Sports gathered that the former Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Alhaji Galadima was not happy with the way and manner things are going in the club and directed the club management to seriously warn the players and the technical crew to change their attitude as the state government will not condone indiscipline and fake injury among players.
It could be recalled that with this approval, the present management of Kano Pillars Football Club led by Alhaji Tukur Babangida was said to have received almost N400million from the state government to run the affairs of the club.
Pillars received N70 million out of N100 million approved by the state government as take-off grant three months back.
Oje Sweet Gives further Insight on the U-17 Bruhaha
Barely a week after it announced Nigeria’s inability to host next year’s Federation of International Football Association’s (FIFA) World Cup due to cash crunch, the Federal Government did a rethink and accepted to go ahead with hosting the world youth soccer championship. This was after the initial budget of N37 billion was drastically scaled down to N9 billion.
The government, through former Sports Minister, had earlier written to the global soccer governing body, FIFA that the country lacked the capacity to deliver a world-class event as it was faced with a myriad of challenges including a deficit budget and the effects of the global financial meltdown. The letter informed FIFA that “Government efforts are now being channelled towards pruning down on expenditure and in the light of challenges confronting Nigeria, it regrets its inability to host the U-17 World Cup as earlier undertaken”.
Government’s earlier repudiation of the hosting agreement it entered into with FIFA two years ago could be traced to the scary N37 billion budget submitted to it by the event’s Local Organising Committee (LOC). Not even the hurried review of the budget to N35 billion could persuade the government of the feasibility of the project. And so, it initially appeared as if the Yar’Adua administration had made up its mind not to have anything to do with the 2009 junior world football championship, which it said was not on its priority list, until a sudden u-turn about a week later.
Several reasons have been given for the policy reversal. They include the fear of FIFA’s sanctions and possible damage the breach of agreement could do the country’s external image and the development of its youth soccer in particular.
But now that the country has managed to avoid these untoward repercussions by agreeing to host the championship as planned, we are still worried about what the international community would think about our leaders. Why, for instance, would the government take such precipitate, spur-of-the-moment decision when it was clear that all remedial avenues had not been exhausted? This apparent indiscretion has brought a lot of embarrassment not only to the government but also to the country. It would appear that the Presidency over reacted on theN37 billion-budget proposal and that shouldn’t have been the sole basis for foreclosing the hosting of the championship. If the government thought the budget was unrealistic, as it surely was, it could have called for its downward review rather than resorting to throwing the baby away with the bath water.
Although some Nigerians have said the revised budget may be too low to host a global event of that magnitude, we want to believe that the Local Organising Committee showed lack of sincerity and concern for the country’s financial position. This definitely cannot continue. What Nigeria needs now as we finally prepare to host the U-17 World Cup next year is a body of genuine patriots to organise a tournament that would be economically rewarding to the country and ultimately beneficial for the development of its game of soccer. The LOC should be spared selfish people who think more of what would accrue to their individual pockets from the “spoils” of tournament hosting. Every effort must be made to ensure that the country maximises the gains of hosting the games, which must include brilliant performance of our team at the tournament as well as a boost to the nation’s economy. The nation’s dilapidated sports infrastructure are also expected to benefit a great deal from hosting the tournament, as they must be enduringly rehabilitated. It is only an efficient LOC that can achieve these lofty goals
CHIMAOBI UCHENDU write in the Sun News on an allege plot to desolve the NFF board.
Former chairman of Gombe State Football Association and founder of the infamous Stakeholders Forum which ousted the Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima-led Nigeria Football Association (NFA) board, Shaibu Ahmed Gara Gombe, says Nigerian football will soon experience turbulent times from tyrants, who are bent on realising their dreams from a disunited football house.
He said a plot to dissolve the present Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Board, led by Sani Lulu was in the offing and he puts the time set for the plot to hatch between now and April next year.
Speaking to Daily Sunsport last weekend, Gombe said the Congress, which was made up of state FAs and clubs had already been penetrated into and warned the NFF and the Nigeria Premier League Board to guard their loins because the crisis is targeted to start there.
“Nigerian football will soon experience earthquake,” Gombe started. “I have it on good authority that Dr. Amos Adamu has recruited men to cause problems that will lead to the dissolution of NFF.
He is bent on reconstituting the NFF board to include himself, this is because of the ambition he is nursing at CAF. Remember that one cannot aim to become the CAF president without being a member of a national football federation.
“Already, I am aware of moves by his foot soldiers at recruiting state FAs and some clubs who make up the Congress to impeach the board when the crisis starts.
“The grand plan also include causing an artificial crisis between NFF and NFL, which will result into inviting stakeholders for mediation.
“At this point, the Congress would be invited to settle, the impasse and immediately this happens, the hatchet men will move for a dissolution of the board.
“I know they are playing to realize this dream before the commencement of the World Youth Championship (WYC) scheduled for Nigeria next year. Read Full Story SUN News
Finally Kenya and mosambique are both threatening to stop Nigeria from 2010 as reported by Taiwo Adelu by PM NEWS
President of Kenya Football Federation (KFF), Mohammed Hatimy, has boasted that the Harambee Stars will stop the Super Eagles of Nigeria from playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in South Africa.
Hatimy is confident his country will feature in the World Cup finals after they must have scaled the hurdles of Nigeria, Tunisia and Mozambique, who are their group opponents in the qualifying series for the 2010 World Cup.
“I believe Kenya can stand on the way of Nigeria to the World Cup,” said Hatimy, in a live interview on Brila F.M., early today. “We want to qualify for the 2010 World Cup at all cost, we are expecting a tough opposition from Nigeria, but Kenya will be there.
“Stopping Nigeria is possible and I believe we can as well celebrate our qualification just as we celebrated the victory of Barack Obama in the just concluded American election,” he boasted.
Hatimy noted that since he took over as the President of Kenya Football Federation, there have been notable achievements to his credit. He said Kenya, in the FIFA ranking, used to be below 100, but he can proudly say that Kenya was last ranked Number 79 in the world.
Harry Mangulenje, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
Mozambique has served notice to their Nigerian opponents in the World Cup zone qualifiers to be vigilant or risk being pushed out of contention. Despite miraculously squeezing through to the current stage, Mozambique team is raising hopes of going further to Africa Nations Cup in Angola 2010.
The Black Mambas say they are not taking a challenge in their tough group and are ready to make it to the Nations Cup for the first time since 1998. Coach Mart Nooij has said he is aware that other members of the group Kenya, and Tunisia are working at turning tables when the games kick off in March next year.
But the coach said he has troops that can beat any team in the World given same conditions. The Mambas passed the first round tests by a miracle after they ended as best runners-up in their group which comprised teams like Ivory Coast.
“We will not change our offensive attacking football, all Africa should know is that Mozambicans can play and they play their own game in their own way but at the end of the day they win and usually win impressively,” he said. “There are so many good things now in our country, Mozambique and I as coach and my players on the other end, we are motivated,” he said.
Nooij, a former Burkina Faso coach said he targets Nigeria for their first win. He however said the worst they want to do is to end third in the group and not slip through.
“Nigeria is the same as Ivory Coast, they play same football, have similar trend of players, we drew with them in Maputo and we nearly drew with them again at their own backyard in Abidjan, what can distract us from pushing them out,” he said.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
The Wanderers keeper made some sensational saves to deny the rampant Tigers, who threw everything at the visitors. Ever since they lost at Chelsea, this is their third defeat in a row.
But it simply was not enough as Matt Taylor's 51st minute strike separated the sides.
Hull boss Phil Brown hailed Jaaskelainen's performance. He said: "He's had a blinder
"He pulled off a couple of great saves, with the one from the Geovanni header the turning point.
"But he had one of those days, although he is a world-class 'keeper anyway, and I've nothing but admiration for him.
"He is certainly one of the best in the Premier League, and that's the standard we have to attain.
"He has been around for 10 or 11 years now, and I remember a number of sterling performances like that when I was at the club."
Bolton manager Gary Megson also singled out Jaaskelainen.
He said: "Jussi will get the headlines, and rightly so because his performance was unbelievable, as good as you are ever going to see.
"Some of his saves, like the one from the free kick - which was bad defending from ourselves - at point-blank range was good enough.
"But to then spring onto his feet and palm it away from the other forward coming in was top-class goalkeeping.
"There are some good goalkeepers throughout the world, and we certainly wouldn't swap him for anybody.
"He is not just a terrific goalkeeper, but a good lad, a good pro, and everything that comes his way he deserves because he works his socks off in training."
Hull had fielded all their lethal attackers including the dangerous Geovanni supporting strikers Marlon King and Daniel Cousin.
It was the Brazilian who had the first chance with a low 25-yard shot that Jaaskelainen smothered. As usual, when Bolton does something extr ordinary away from Reebok, Kudos always goes to Jaaskelainen. Hull was so dominant everyone gave them the game especially considering their form and wonders they created so far in the league.
Despite Hull's domination, it was Bolton who took the lead on 51 minutes. Bolton Carried the day and all Kudos to their goalie who worked so hard.
Earlier on, Manchester United full of confidence visited and injury ravaged Arsenal side with confidence at an all time low.
Arsene Wenger admitted his team's bid would have been dead in the water if they had failed to win at the Emirates against United on Saturday after.
That was on an all time low of confidence having lost a 2 goal advantage to spurs, lost to stoke and held to a goalless draw against Fernabache all within 10 days would have found it difficult if they didn't win.
Nasri got the opener on 22 minutes thanks to a deflection off United skipper Gary Neville.
He made it two after a sublime passing move found him on the edge of the box where he hammered home.
Brazilian youngster Rafael Da Silva grabbed a late consolation for United.
United's Michael Carrick fired wide from the edge of the area before Dimitar Berbatov had a goal ruled out for offside.
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner headed over from Gael Clichy's cross and Abou Diaby had a clear sight of goal but his effort was blocked by Carrick. In my opinion Arsenal should have scored at least 5 goals with Rio's poor defending if Nicholas Brendtner was worth the confidence reposed on hi my Arsene. He wasn't just there. They game should have ended 5-2.
Wayne Rooney wasted Cristiano Ronaldo's intelligent cut-back when he smashed over on 17 minutes.
And he was made to pay when Nasri netted the opener just minutes later.
Patrice Evra fouled Bacary Sagna on the right wing and Cesc Fabregas' set-piece was only cleared to Nasri on the edge of the box.
The France star's powerful drive took a wicked deflection off Gary Neville and flew past Edwin Van der Sar in the United goal.
Ronaldo almost replied when his free-kick was nearly clipped in off Clichy. But unitl Rafeal came on to do what Ronney Berbatov and Tevez couldn't do, the game was heading to 2-0 especially with 6 minutes of added time that followed ALumnia's prolonged treatment time on the pitch. Can Arsenal Start getting consistent and take the battle to Aston Villa and Chelsea?
Friday, November 07, 2008
When Kaffu achieved the rare fit in Dancing to get her name into the world record register, no one expected it. Such records have a way of making people strive for excellence.
Kaffu's feat has inspired a lot of women in Nigeria and Africa as a whole to the effect that truely, what a man can do, even a woman can surpass.
Here comes another record in the making. Uduak Akpabio, a photographer and web developer in another daring attempt to go all the way. Though i know Uduak in person as he also graduated from University of Calabar like me, i heard about his bravity for the first time on facebook.
He plans to go round Nigeria in 100 days to taking photographs of her beautiful people and heritage and he plans to take a whooping 1000,000 of such photographs. The photographs will also be made into video format for distribution.
He has applied to the world record body and has claimed the right to this epoch making attempt. The problem now is finances and will do with whatever help you Nigerians can give him.
“I want to set a World Record for the Largest Amount of Portraits Pictures Taken by a Single Photographer, I will have a minimum target of One Million(1,000,000) Portrait Pictures, to be taken in several states of Nigeria, and these will span about 100 days. I will be working with a Digital Camera, and will be using this as an avenue to showcase the richness of culture and beauty that spans the country (Nigeria). And to also educate people on the need to support street kids, while also asking everyone of the One Million people to make a comment on the issue.”
Let join hands together with Uduak Akpabio to once again put Nigeria's name on the world map boldly. Please comment on this article and indicate here if you wish to assist him. So i can forward his phone number. Or visit the project home page at Wazup Nigeria.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Super Eagles’ assistant coach, Fatai Amoo, is feeling up beat about the scoring form of Newcastle of England’s Obafemi Martins and Hoffenheim of Germany’s Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi in their club football and the fact that they have now won a place in the hearts of their respective coaches.
Both players have only scored four goals each for their clubs and i don't think that is enough for us all to start jubilating. We have seen it before when Obafemi in particular came out blazing and then the expectations rise, but he suddenly went under. Amoo, an ex-international, said he is very impressed with their performances. That is expected from a coach any way, but we all know the truth. Not that i am being a pessimist.
We will be able to know if it is time for huhuru when they perform against credible opposition if the rumoured friendly games ever come to be.
Amoo said he is happy that the players have hit form for their clubs, and if they can maintain their present form when the final round of the 2010 World/Nations Cup qualifying series kicks off it will be good for the country. That's what i mean-transferring that form to country
“I’m excited seeing the players scoring for their clubs,” Amoo said. “This is a good development for the boys and the country, if they keep this present form intact,” he said.
On whether Martins, a former Inter Milan of Italy forward, can still reclaim the top striker's spot in the super Eagles from Getafe of Spain’s Ikechukwu Uche, he declined to comments.
“Martins is one of the Super Eagles’ players invited for the international friendly match against Colombia, the question of him getting back the number 9 jersey will depend on his performance during training.”
In Europe the scare and poor performances of English teams continued yesterday after Liverpool secured a scrappy win against Athletico Madrid and Chelsea lost incredibly to Roma. Yesterday saw Arsenal once again failed to deliver despite having most of the possession dropping two valuable points in a goalless draw at the Emirates against Fernanache. Manchester United secured a late goal away to celtic with a Ryan Giggs header to saved them from an Ugly draw. Are teams finally finding an answer to England's Euro dominanation?
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Every year fans of this beautiful club are disappointed by Arsene Wenger or is it David Hill Wood? I have stopped to believe that the board always makes cash available for Wenger who will rather prefer not to buy.
The board keeps telling the world, there is money to spend, but no one is using it, instead Wenger keeps buying crumps from other clubs like William Gallas, Amaury Bischoff and now Mikael Silverter.
After the exits of Flamini, Gilberto, it was widely expected that Arsene Wenger will bring in capable replacements. Gareth Barry and Xavi Alonso were all hitching to leave their respective clubs but wenger won't move in, instead whiel everyone was told the team was doing fine, we all saw Nasri, Silverter and Bischoff brought in. Silverter a total waste while Bischoff is yet to be dressed 10 games on.
So is it really true that Arsene wenger's team needs no fortification? If the defeat to Hull was because they were underated and the 4-4 draw to spurs was due to lose of concentration, the 2-1 defeat at stokes surely tells the truth. Arsene Wenger must review his transfer policy. It is not too late yet to do something come the January transfer window.
I have watched with rapt attention and absolute dismay these past few weeks, the theatrics, as they play out in Nigerian football. What has happened recently only goes to show that, as a Nation we are yet to really understand and accept the fact that the most important office in the country is that of the citizen.
In the last two weeks or so, lovers of football in this country have been made the pawns in a game of chess. In 2003 Nigeria was the host of the All African Games; that tournament till date has remained an issue of controversy after huge amounts of tax payers’ money was expended without recourse to the tenets of accountability to citizens who are supposed to be the most revered in any civilized clime.
Mr. Amos Adamu who was in-charge has continued to act like he owes no one an explanation. It is however, understandable Mr. President’s (Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua) hesitation about going ahead with hosting the U-17 world cup, the right of which Nigeria fought for and won, yet with tax payer’s money, after the LOC, constituting the same shylocks who run the country aground during the hosting of the All African Games, presented a budget of a whooping N37 billion for the event.
It pains me to note that in the year 2008, when other countries are working tirelessly to improve the lot of the youth, we still have people whose major interest in sports development is self aggrandizement. The importance of sports in a society can not be over emphasized and sometimes I really get bored with the monotony of having to talk about the same thing everyday, week, month and year. By the year 2009, we will continue to talk about these same issues to no avail. These scavengers are shamelessly the same people who go on TV to criticize and question Nigerians’ dedication to foreign leagues attributing it to lack of patriotism. They really think Nigerians are fools. Even if we were, I think we know the difference between good and bad-even a five year old does.
Sports development has little to do with the fans. If those appointed, elected or selected to run our football are inept and bereft of ideas or bent on grabbing as much money as they can within the period he/she is in office, I don’t think there is anything a fan can do about that. I challenge our sports administrators today to develop our league and see if the fans wouldn’t come running down to watch matches. Back to the U-17 world cup billed for Nigeria in 2009. Agreed that the LOC over killed it with that budget, the president’s attitude is what I wish to analyze here.
Let’s take it one by one. Haba! Mr. President, are you so insensitive to the plight of Nigerian football fans? Do you know how much money a country makes hosting international sports events? I am particularly surprised (despite the fact the decision has since been rescinded) that though this administration’s lethargy has failed to provide employment for the youth of this country, it was about to throw away the only opportunity it has to achieve that to some extent. I am not about to talk about how much money cooperate Nigeria can make from the influx of visitors, what the hospitality industry stand to gain, the TV and radio stations on commercials, the aviation industry considering the influx of foreigners coming in and those who may have to shuffle from one venue to another and all those big wigs in circulation. Let’s take a look at what a simple sector that affects the common man on the street stands to loose.
Millions of Nigerians have chosen to take their own destinies into their hands and have adopted a means of livelihood that has not just been enough to feed them, but clothe and even pay school fees and other basic needs- the ‘pure water’ sellers! President Yar’Adua does not need an adviser to know that sellers of pure water can change their lives for the better in just this one swop as this is neither rocket science nor brain surgery. While I do not want to sound like I am in support of reckless spending in government, it is worthy to note that no amount of money is too much to spend on a venture that promises to better the lives of Nigerians. Apart from the fact that these resources belong 100% to the people, government officials should understand that we are the only reason they should be in office at all. So what’s my point? The president did well to have pointed out that amount earmarked was outrageous but it shows total disregard to have to make Nigerians beg him to dialogue with the LOC in order to come to a common ground.
The president should be presidential enough to know that negotiations can achieve everything. He should have for the sake of Nigerians who have already spent millions to expand their businesses in preparation for the event, which in the process will employ more hands to help them out during this period, done us the favour of negotiating on our behalf. If a president gets so irritated that the plight of Nigerians becomes secondary, let me say here that such attitude is unacceptable by Nigerians.
The government owes Nigerians the obligation to provide jobs, good roads, clean water, housing and education. So far, I do not think this government has shown any desire to achieve any of this and that first decision not to host the U-17 world Cup was an affront on the youth of this country. Government should note that N37 billion or N9 billion makes no economic sense to the ‘pure water’ seller whose major concern is to stay alive with the N10 profit from sales of one bag of sachet water.