Before the Super Eagles/Seychelles AFCON Qualifier: Matters Arising

By Daily Sports on March 18, 2019

Views: 10,350

Last week, precisely Friday, March 15, I was at the Alausa, Ikeja Secretariat of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ). It turned out to be one of my best ever in the Ladi Lawal Press Centre. Guess what, I saw my very good old course mate in the early 1980s at the very prestigious Times Journalism Institute, Iganmu Lagos who also has made it to the top ladder of this noble profession reaching the editorship chair of the oldest leading all-sports newspaper.

It was a great reunion as we re-enacted those rib cracking, soul touching jokes of those great good old days in the campus and we pronto re-examined the state of the profession in the land and instantly gave it low marks because of the sharp division along ethnic and political lines.

Over lunch at the NUJ Centre, we also agreed that if the state of the profession was as it is today, many anti-media laws that were the order of the day then, would have easily passed and journalism being the worst for it, but of course the first generation practitioners fought the colonial masters tooth and nail and got judgment against the repressive anti-press laws.

It continued from the 1970s through to when men of honour were still on the scene. Simply put, it was a tough time for journalism in the country in those days but the men and women were able to fight head-on, standing up to every sitting government that was out to muzzle the press via obnoxious legislations that exacted on journalism practice in the largest black nation in the World. It would be recalled that while Ladi Loko left to further his education at the Lagos State University, I did same at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. I digress. I promise that a detailed article on this will be crafted in the nearest future.

Honestly, it can be very frustrating talking about or writing on the deaf, dumb and impunity infested country like ours. The Nigeria government and those that found themselves in and around the corridors of power are one and the same. In short, they are two of a kind. Just take a look at the Nigeria Football Federation where they are lords and owe nobody any atom of explanation on the goings on; after all, it is same in the larger society yet nothing happens at the end of the day.

For instance, if you dare stick out your neck to suggest or tell them this and that should be tried or done this way, you are automatically regarded as a critic who must be marked or walled off comprehensively from the activities of the federation. I have lived on that toga since the advent of the present regime gracefully I have moved on doing this work to the best of my ability and the beat goes on.

That is the state of sports and chiefly football administration in the country. The entire country has been a case of if you cannot beat them join them but the very few of us that never subscribed to that dead theory will continue to hold tight to it believing that sanity would one day return back to football administration in the nation.

This is the season of madness, but definitely, it won’t last forever. Now Nigeria will play last group game of the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Seychelles in Asaba come March 22. As the buildup mounts, we have continued to hear many discordant tunes from the head of the Technical Gernot Rohr and so on. We are in trouble whether we want to call a spade by its name or not.

While the country may have already picked a ticket for the edition billed for Egypt later in the year; however, preparations and the rest are the nitty-gritty of summits of that nature.   The way and manner the NFF technical committee and by extension the executive committee are playing hide and seek game with the Franco-German technical hand leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Yes, the March 22 qualifier is just a mere formality but it could be used to test some new legs preparatory to the big game in Egypt.

Many have observed that NFF’s silence on the purported play down on the widely reported assertion by Rohr that the Super Eagles are rated outsiders at the championship coming up in Egypt later in the year calls for explanation. According to some pundits, silence by NFF calls for great concern though some quarters said it was a deliberate strategy by the coach not to raise hopes until when there is no need for it. Nevertheless, the interview that Rohr rated Eagles low on its own could have a negative effect on the team if care is not taken. While some others refer to it as a two-edged sword deliberately channelled, it is also said to be an ill wind that will blow nobody any good after missing out from the last two champs.

Heads or tails, it is likely that Nigeria already has an excuse to perform badly and now that the handwriting is on the wall, where do we go from here. While other countries that would be in Egypt are setting the pace to compete resoundingly at the forthcoming AFCON, we are here giving silly excuses before the battle ensues. It is sad that after hiring this man and giving him a target, he is doing the all motion no movement kinds of stuff and everyone is acting like an onlooker. It is really the shame of Nigeria.

The team would be on parade against Seychelles. NFF has feigned blindness and deafness to brace up. After the qualifier on March 22, there will be a cracker of a friendly against Egypt in the same Asaba four days later. No doubt, it would be one grade A international friendly that would shape the way 2019 AFCON may tilt towards because no matter the angle you may be looking at it from, both are established and acknowledged football nations in the continent and as such it would attract raves and even account in the next FIFA rating.

How prepared Rohr and his boys are would be seen as what football pundits and analysts have witnessed more is all motion, no movement. The man that would be busy and at the centre of the battle is here telling fairy tales, which no doubt is told by an idiot.

One would hopefully be in Asaba especially for the high level international friendly to assess the Super Eagles side Rohr would be parading against one of Africa’s best football playing countries. Join us in our social media handles and let’s discuss Nigeria’s chances in this edition of 2019 AFCON. It will be one friendly game to behold and a crowd puller. Let’s keep shooting hard till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 18, 2019


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