Commonwealth Games 2018: Runaway Nigerian athletes and coaches and other matters

By Daily Sports on April 23, 2018

Views: 22,370

The last edition of this column generated lots of comments and even calls despite our rule of SMS only. It did expressively because the issue discussed, presented a sad commentary on how not to promote the image of a country by those concerned. The theme being the disappearing attitudes displayed by the country’s athletes and coaches in Australia would continue to haunt the citizens, Embassies and High Commissions as the countries concerned will start to look at Nigerians again as potential threats to their countries if given visa. It would be recalled that such tag which trailed Nigerian travelers at some point in our history, became a thing of the past until this Buhari/APC gangster government brought much hardship and unbearable condition back to the country that have again forced the citizenry to flee the country at any slightest opportunity. The disappearance of athletes was hugely displayed in Gold Coast, Australia, where the Commonwealth Games 2018 was held. Remember also that we discussed extensively in that piece the dangerous trend and strange killings happening in Nigeria which the government had ignored and so it was that at the same time in far way Gold Coast, Australia, the country was in the news in the sports arena for the wrong reasons. Yes, the situation in the country is unbearable so athletes and coaches who saw the Australia meet as an opportunity disappeared into the thin air. Sadly, Solomon Dalung and the large Nigerian entourage and officials have no answer to it.

We vividly highlighted the shame of Nigeria because of the disappearance of her athletes and coaches illegally into Australia. The article which attracted huge readership traffic was reality sadly kicking us on the face due to one chance, deaf, dumb governance and I know that all this shame was foisted on very unwilling Nigerians since May 29, 2015 by the Buhari/APC myopic government.  The write up titled Commonwealth 2018: Shame of Muhammadu Buhari, Solomon Dalung, to be honest with you had far reaching sacred facts that nailed this inept gangster called Buhari/APC government. One could not recall when such naked reality or scenario happened in Nigerian camp not during General Sani Abacha era when Nigeria was a pariah state.

At the end of the Games, it was confirmed that Nigerian athletes and coaches ran away. They disappeared into the town of Australia as illegal aliens. This scam happened to Ghanaian athletes as the Games were underway and the country’s President fired the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister with the DG of the National Sports Authority. Investigation on that is ongoing and in Nigeria, Buhari has said nothing about the shame and the fate of lame duck Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung. It is instructive to note that this man who comes from the Plateau crippled sports in Nigeria to its marrow. In short, he will leave the arena worst than he met it. He has often times gone cap in hand begging for support from some Presidents of Sports Federations, a scenario that made him look ordinary before these administrators. His antecedents as Sports Minister is better imagined than described.

Again, the other factor that has shielded him thus far from Buhari’s boot despite scandals that have followed his tenure in sports is the very powerful man that sent his name to Buhari. He is one of the men the President has lots of respect for and never wants to offend. Dear readers, I crave your indulgence to say let’s leave it at that because this week is not for Solomon Dalung who has constituted himself as bad news which though makes good sales anytime.

The President last week in London hit the Nigerian youths below the belt and since then hell has been let loose, that prompted his information managers and his APC keenly trying but all to no avail to hand twist the story to favour their master. He said point blank in one of his functions in London that Nigerian youths are lazy and always want to be spoon fed because the country is an oil rich nation. He dragged it further that the laziness act stem from their being uneducated. When the news broke, I read it more than five times and the Nigerian television stations have done dis-service to their viewers on their refusal to show the unsuspecting Nigerian public the audio of Buhari’s speech in that event.

This obvious and avoidable disservice by all television stations in Nigeria has generated much disagreement between Buhari’s army and the people’s army. My stand remains that the television stations in Nigeria if they are not serving parochial interests must forthwith relay the President’s speech in that programme he attended in far away London so as to break the apparent deadlock which will further put those that are exonerating him (the President) to yet another shame. This current sitting on the fence remains no solution to the spur of the moment problem.

On the aspect that Nigerian youths are not educated, I quickly dismissed that with a wave of hand adding that it is a case of pot calling kettle black or calling a dog bad name in order to hang it. Nigerians are yet to forget that our President has not shown his West Africa School Certificate. Reports even had it that Mr. President’s WASC has been disowned in some quarters. Against that inflammable background therefore, the number one citizen has no moral right or otherwise to say anything on education and the Nigerian youths. He did not go to anyone. He is one of those that are frustrating the youths. What has his gangster like government done to enhance the employment of the teeming graduates roaming the streets?

His is a deceiver of our hard working Nigerian youths who are being frustrated daily and also raped. Buhari’s statement in London which smacks of blackmail is one of his several talks before thinking. He has vandalised the country and her youths. He is a colossal failure. The act of governance has overwhelmed him, yet APC is fighting a lost battle. Nigerian youths must give deaf ears to President’s careless talk. He is not a serious minded lot, as he disgraced himself in the public as usual outside our shores.

It is why I don’t envy Femi Adesina’s job. Though, I’m not one of his fans but I must confess that he is going through hell because he is managing a very bad product in President Buhari. His job is not an easy one at all especially in times like this. His principal has cut for himself the sorry and woeful image of swimming from one controversy to the other. When you look at Adesina’s face while using all his energy to defend all the indefensible of his master, right into his eyes and face you see bold lies and betrayals written all over him. He has to do what he is doing in order to keep his job as Presidential spokesman even at the expense of the little ‘integrity’ which I knew he has long lost. This is Nigeria where you call white black in broad day light in order to keep your job.  That is the image Femi Adesina has unfortunately shaped for himself: Men without honour, all.   

Same last week, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) leadership paid the salaries of the coaches till the end of the World Cup. It further said it will do same to the players and promised the Eagles to tempt him by doing exceptionally well in Russia World Cup tournament. The Warri born football administrator showed his readiness to accept any kind of challenge the team would throw at him and his board by showing off the kind of stuff it is made of in the field of play.

The dice will sooner than later be cast and every sensible football leader must device enduring means to spur his team to action. Amaju Pinnick gave a tip of the iceberg last week while addressing some financial issues as it affects the team. To Super Eagles close watchers and pundits, his was a master stroke that would keep the spirit of the players and camp in high moral performing mood and focus. It is simply kudos to Amaju Pinnick and his strategy. We promise to keep close watch to call him to order if he wants to falter which is often Nigerian.  For now let us hail his move as positive and tactical one.

It should also be noted that four Nigerian teams, Plateau Utd,  Akwa Utd, MFM and Enyimba International football clubs were involved in CAF Confederations Cup Championship last week, but to my greatest chagrin, only Enyimba International managed to scale through. The NPFL champs lost out in Algiers disgracefully 4-0. In Mali, MFM played 0-0 but lost out because of its 1-0 home loss during the first leg in Lagos. Akwa United disappointed after scoring three goals in Uyo but failed to guard her back by allowing the visitors to score a goal which proved decisive against the Promise Keepers team.

And at the UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar, Enyimba despite throwing the gate open for the fans performed below expectations but thanks to dazzling performance of the day’s goalkeeper that stood like solid rock against the very desperate and re-engineered visitors, Bidvest Wits from South Africa who came out smoking. Enyimba relied heavily on it vast experience to ward off the intruders even after missing a well deserved penalty against the overzealous South African side that were out to see how to turn the table, which definitely would have been an upset judging from Enyimba’s pedigree in the continent’s football.   

Today, the Aba based side became the only squad standing in the tournament that had four Nigerian teams in the race. Of a truth, this is not how it should be. It made me sick but let me confess that it is not one or the kind that affects my health. It also brought to the fore the kind of league we have here. It is clear that Nigeria is playing its league for its self as her teams cannot stand the test of time. It calls for thorough re-examination of the entire modus operandi of NPFL. Plateau and MFM could not withstand the fireworks of teams in Africa’s elite club champs- CAF Champions League. At the time it mattered most in the game, they were nowhere to be found.

However, one must sound a note of warning to Enyimba International FC not to take its group stage opponents for granted. The great showing by Bidvest Wits FC in their home UJ Esuene stadium, Calabar must serve as the needed wake up call for it in the rest of the competition. The former back to back African kings must be up and doing if it wants to qualify from its group C and then take it from there. Its performance at home against the South African side left sour taste in the mouth of its teeming followers and calls for concern also.

True, the Aba side has clout but in football, minions can upset the apple chart, though the South Africans are no underlings. One believes that Paul Aigbogun led technical crew, not being new in the continental terrain must find out what made the blanket to nearly leak in their last CAF Confederation Cup return leg in Calabar. It is important and the loopholes must be thoroughly plugged to forestall any surprise from the group stage. It is widely envisaged that the four seeded teams would all emerge from their respective groups and Enyimba must not be found missing in action at the end of the day.

Club chairman, Felix Anyansi Agwu who is a veteran administrator must look deep down to know what nearly went wrong in the last home game. I know he will. NFF and NPFL  must as a matter of national urgency adopt Enyimba because it is the only hope for the country in this year’s continental tournament and we must go all out to get the crown as our only consolation. A support for Enyimba’s success is Nigeria’s, no more, no less.   

And for Akwa Utd, I saw it coming because of its inconsistencies in the NPFL. It has never shown a championship stuff despite it is well funded and peopled with some of the supposedly good legs in the domestic scene.  My anger boiled to high heavens when its chief coach gave very slippery and flimsy excuse that his team lost right in front of their teeming fans to inexperience. His, I must say is laughable and also not tenable either. A coach of his grade would have the guts to stand before a national television to be telling such tales that can only be told by an idiot.

It is just painful that the coach and his players have failed so far to justify the huge tax payers’ money being spent on them. What the government and people of Akwa Ibom State want from them is result and not these nonsense excuses all over. They are on the march again doing everything humanly possible to ensure they will return to the continent next year. The team is fast cutting for itself the picture of an unserious and the unready football club.

Whatever reason the coach or any official of the team may push out as to why it lost being in the group stage of this year’s CAF Confederation Cup championship should be told to the wind.

My long take even when I covered league week on week for the old good Daily Times, I have always advocated that a good team that would represent the nation solidly at the Africa club level championship should emerge. Such strong view has not changed. Nigeria’s representation in the last season, the ongoing CAF Champs League and Federation Cup are nothing to write home about.

We pray NPFL authorities get their acts right, swiftly and adequately punish teams and match officials that are hell bent on cutting corners without looking back. Our outings in the continent remain woeful and call for proper self scrutiny and soul searching, not the lip service kind of attitude which we have lived with these years. What has happened to the teams that won the league and represented us in recent time is glaring.

Let us discuss more in our social media handles that are action 247. It has helped to keep the whole scenario steaming in our football cum sports, so stimulating and compelling too as we keep our fingers crossed. Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 23, 2018

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