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Changing Nigeria Sports,What Works

At times it takes a huge spanking to motivate some unique individuals and at other times a simple trust counts as motivating tools but the fact is, what matters is the result. The result we got, let’s move on.

The country should try to apply a little bit decency and decorum in our response to certain events that followed the championship Super Eagles great achievement. Back and forth debates on Stephen Keshi view or so-called grandstanding (I disagree) ought to rest.


Everyone involved in Football administration need to seat back and evaluate what happened (sort of debriefing) on all counts and compare with many other efforts Super Eagle gave in past competitions. Failure to do this is an example of incompetency that plagued all Nigeria Sports due to complacency and that’s the problem the country endured after Olympics Gold medal of 1996.

The federation at least showed publicly that it is independent of the Sports Ministry. In fact, hardly do we hear of Patrick Ekeji or Sports Minister meddling in selection process of the team, although, rumours were speculated that covert meddling did exist (I doubt it but I could be wrong).

Ideally but wrongly Nigerians’ favourite players residents abroad would have coloured the selection process but like I wrote many times before, that is a culture of entitlement preventing new and better skilled talent to deliver for the country. I hate to say that Papilo and JayJay stayed too long on the team, though not their fault but the technical crew that continue to accept meddling from various sources.

Keshi puts his foot down on players he wanted on his team.  The federation understands that time is not right for them to fumble because NSC no longer wants to be bashed for any failure and the legislature was ready to draw blood, so, it became a challenge for the federation to let technical crew do their job for the first time and it worked, though it takes time. I and the rest of the country welcomed this.

Nigeria should now make sure that sentiments based on name- brand players must truly remain thing of the past and those that believed Obafemi Martins and Osaze being left of the team was mistake, I say think again. They are both good players but the sport is about a team not individuals and players cohesion and chemistry are very important. Only Keshi can explain his tactics but doing so publicly defeats the strategy to win Nations Cup.

One thing that pundits failed to realise was that this home based players are very young and has years ahead to play as a team and it becomes very necessary to have well qualified administrators at the helm to make sure that things don’t get destroyed. In that case, the current administrator clearly lacked the training and expertise for this new age thinking about dealing with many unique individuals, infrastructures, money and how sports should be govern overall, an example of this, is Keshi debacle largely based on money concerns.

Nigeria Sports in general

NSC resisted many writings from this writer and others suggesting the Commission hindered sports development with meddling and imposition of coaches, secretaries and federation’s Chairmen. Now that NSC changed its position on interference just few weeks before AFCON, the result is Nations Cup.

The question now is, will the NSC truly transform the entire sports industry? Athletes are abundant in our population of over 180million and they need new set of administrators not destiny destroyers in all federations. Simply changing policy will not remove old method of thinking where favouritism, nepotism, sentiments, hatred, tribalism (discrimination) and corruption are embedded in the bones and skulls of these old style individuals.

I will say this, NSC must within days engaged appropriate legal experts or even INEC to determine who is eligible to vote in federations’ Boards so-called election and until those that usually vote for and among themselves are all removed can we truly have a transformed sports industry, otherwise, we are just recycling these wrong individuals. All athletes (home and abroad, past and current) must be entitled to vote because they are true stakeholders just as we have national election (can we say on election for the country President that voters must be Governors of a states?)

Imagine the NOC rules that says in other to contest (vote also) you must have been Board member of a federation and part of international organization. And I ask who qualifies other than Ndanusa and his friends. Even Nigerian Presidency does not have such requirement.

I rest

Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)

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