In my childhood and teen years, I was a great fan of the local football league. I knew the likes of Yisa Sofoluwe, the Bright Omokaros, the mathematical Odegbamis, best Ogedengbes, the Henry Nwosus and others that adorned the green white green at the Nations Cup. Spartans of Owerri was my home team though I never watched any of their league matches for I was holed up in my quiet village life. Newspapers like the Statesman had enough Sports News to whet my appetite. I constantly listened to Barry Maughan’s Sports Journal program on VOA through which I won a couple of T-shirts, face caps, and other gift items. This was complimented by the BBC’s daily Sports Round Up which I hardly missed. Just by turning the knobs of the radio in my village, I knew what happened in the sports world such that I wrote a congratulatory letter to Deutsche (German) Football Association after they won the 1990 world cup. I had kept a notebook where I recorded all the match results, and knew the names of all the players of the winning teams and the stars that shone brightly at the mundial!
That was over a decade ago. Now am no longer as passionate about football like I was then, yet I can’t deny the fact that football has become a culture of its own. Business moguls are having boardroom fights just to buy over one premiership side or the other. Even with the exit of the ‘special one’ as Jose Mourinho (ex-Chelsea coach), the ‘Blues fans’ are still ready to die for Chelsea FC. I once had an experience in 2005 when a sworn
As I move around
I thought about this phenomenal passion and commitment to football teams by their owners, players, and fans and I wondered out loud in amazement. You might think I loathe football, but my sorrow was elicited by the reality that hit me daily as I moved around Naija and read the newspapers and commentaries on websites. Naija seem to lack a committed fan base that can cheer her up and lift her spirit when she’s down and dysfunctional. Naijaland is loathed by the very people whose umbilical cords and those of their forebears were buried deep in her soil. Naijaland is hated and denigrated by those whose wastes and excreta have become washed into her earth’s crust. Those who have eaten food and have been nourished by the fruits grown in her gardens still hate, disparage and spite her. Those who should defend her would rather wash her dirty linen in the comity of foreign friends and enemies alike.
Yet we wonder why Naijaland is regarded as a pariah nation and her people punished and abused for having the green passport. If a dying football club can rise from the zone of relegation to the zone of champions, why have we not hailed and supported Naija to rise up from the rubbles and display her green and white flag internationally. When Bolton FC signed up Jay Jay Okocha, Nigerians in their thousands became
But this mindset needs to change, especially among the teeming youths of premiership. If we can begin to see
When Apostle James, the disciple of Jesus Christ re-echoed the wisdom of the sages that in the mouth is the reservoir of the power of life and death, he must have thought prophetically about Nigerians. We lampoon and berate
mfort of their monastic cellars. If we could love Naija enough and live in that dignity that makes us unique as the envy of Black Africa, other Africans would’ve loved to be called brothers of Nigerians!
If we lack faith in our nation, how on earth do we expect the miracle of capitalist economics to help us raise our standard of living? If we could believe in
If we could for one football season transfer our love and passion for ManU, Barca, or