Let Nigeria’s Football Experience Sanity In 2023 and Adieu Prof. Uchenna Ikonne

By Victor Enyinnaya on January 30, 2023

Let me open this week’s column on sad note as our entire editorial and sundry expressed our heartfelt condolences to the family of Professor Elezaar Uchenna Ikonne, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate who died last week. …..And to the entire Abia State PDP family, Nigeria, his teeming fans and students.

To be honest with you, I was rudely shocked by his demise. I have not met him before but his overwhelming transformation of Abia State University, Uturu via his acumen in all ramifications brought the citadel of academia to key into as one of the frontline Universities of excellence in the country, pronto made me his fan because he would have been a game changer if not for this call of nature the other day. When high placed source told me of his health issue, I prayed vehemently his life be spared so as to lead the State that had been so unfortunate in choosing who her governor becomes since 1999.

But for God calling him home before the impending next state assignment separates us from the all knowing God who can tell. Now Abia State is on the march again. In my thinking, I emplore all stakeholders to do the right thing this time as it looks like the gods are angry with Abia State power brokers. All eyes are on the State that is the most backward.  I don’t know what measure Sun newspaper, a medium I have lots of respect and admiration for used to pencil down Okezie Ikpeazu as one of its Governor of the Year 2022.

Okezie’s is still raising questions on the credibility of the award when Abia State that is supposed to be in realm of frontline states in terms of infrastructural development of any type is nowhere to be found because worse governance by Okezie Ikpeazu’s myopic way of thinking and execution of ideas. Pointedly put, he is a non performer. This is another topic for another day. I pray Enyinnaya Abaribe defeats him in Abia South Senatorial election come February 25 because he is not suppose to represent us at the Senate.

Yes, as the above title implies, one expects that Nigerian football in all sphere would not only experience peace but also sanity as these would be the key to harvest successes in games at all levels this year.

It would be recalled that last year would remain one of the worst in annals of the country’s football as nothing absolutely nothing worked. The rots are still there. However what is readily on lips of football pundits and analysts are how the Ibrahim Gusau and his team would do for its turn around.  Although most of them in current executive committee were part and parcel of the backwardness that befell the game over these years but one believes that if this board wants to make the needed difference, it has the capacity to do so.

For instance, Gusau and Anyansi Agwu are veterans in the terrain of football administration and their long years must impart positively in the administration of the sport at all levels. Nothing stops our NPFL from being competitive, strong, reliable, profitable etc that will go a long way to truly throw up enduring champion that can stand the test of time against its counterparts in the continental competitions. Without any prejudice the game needs absolute sanity this 2023 in order to make headway. The game deserves peace and imaginativeness so as to achieve its optimum best.

Therefore Ibrahim Gusau and his men at the helm must be proactive in order to make the sport practically work for results to be staring the teeming fans on the face. The time to call a spade by its name is now. The years for locust must be over for the good of the game.  Ibrahim Gusau has the will power if he really wants. Not for anything but because he has been there for a long time and so knows where the bucket is truly leaking. He has no excuse to fail. The Amaju Pinnick years in NFF were all wasteful period whch set Nigerian football many years backwards. The funny aspect of it all is that despite his obvious failure according to verifiable indices, the Warri man is busy beating his chest and scoring himself high even telling whoever that cares to listen that he performed beautifully well and left Nigerian football at her best years.

Your guess is as great and good as mine. Nigeria performed dismally which climaxed in Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the last World Cup held in Qatar. It won’t be overstatement to posit that the miserable performance of football at the national level which must form the level and measure of success by any NFF regime was at the lowest ebb in every sense and truth of the word.

The failure is dripping and the hangover has lingered on. These baggage left behind must be thoroughly cleared by Ibrahim Gusau led executive committee board, he and others still serving in the present cabinet were part and parcel of the ugly scene of our football today.

It is abnormal that in Nigeria people score themselves whether in or out of office. After all, President Mahammadu Buhari is scoring himself and his administration which gave the country the popular but very inglorious name of Poverty Capital of the World, yet he (Buhari) scored himself and government as haven performed well to solve Nigeria’s social-economic problems according to him better than he met them.

We are all here even the major people who facilitated Buhari’s coming into power now curse him and instead of continuing with their 2015 much more abused campaign slogan ‘Change’ now abandoned it for ‘Renewed Hope’ that alone clearly showed you their hypocrisy and total abuse of the sensitivity of the Nigerian populace who they have roundly improvised without any remorse to human kindness.  I digress.

Our football presently is at the crossroad. The state of our football today in all facets leaves soured taste in the mouth. This is the nightmare called Nigerian football today. And so Ibrahim Gusau must set the tone for Nigerian football this term no more lip services again.

In climes where sanity is the watch word, is always truly enough and so nothing stops such from taking fully hold on our soil. Such decision and thinking would bring lots of live and vitality to the game especially at the national team level. Without much ado, honestly speaking football needs fresh breathe of air in our country today.

We have discussed on the page some weeks back this year also the need to employ world class technical hand for the Super Eagles to reorganize the team and then reposition for greater output. Nigeria as this columnist has constantly state, has all it takes to engage any great coach in the World for her national flagship team. Truth is that monumental corruption in our football has made it extremely impossible to allow for a high caliber of coach to work in the country.

It has been makeshift coaches that come here to even start learning on the job that the corrupt NFF executive committee members always hire. Nigeria had no business hiring Gernot Rohr and presently Jose Peresie who failed woefully in national teams and club sides he handled before, he was again dusted and packaged, presented to Amaju’s led last NFF board.

As this columnist has constantly advocated, Ibrahim Gusau has the capacity to move the country’s football higher if he so wish. Nothing would hinder him from doing so diligently and well tailored too. My candid suggestion to those who handle him is to advice him toe the glorious line of getting it right by ensuring Super Eagles team comes back into reckoning again in the scheme of things amongst other African national teams.

If Gusau handles this aspect well by ensuring he will not walk the way of his predecessor, then he will be found in the rightful and most peaceful atmosphere of history. Such step would also inscribe his name in gold as one that salvaged Super Eagles team when the side became a weeping squad for even minnows of football in the globe.

History will place him rightfully by its right hand side. This is how it should be because Nigeria has no business with rag-tag inexperienced white man who is not even qualified to handle an amateur side in the country as national team coach.  Let us hope for the best this time that things would get right for the first time in our football administration. Keep shooting hard till next week. Meanwhile we wait!!

Source Daily Sports Nigeria

Posted January 30, 2023


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