Arguably, each time the Super Eagles qualify, prepare for and or participate in the AFCON tournament, SEX SCANDAL creeps in to rock and distract the team and ultimately stop it from excelling in the tournament.
Recently, it was alleged that the trio of Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo were involved in a scandal before the team's lacklustre draw against Cape Verde in Lagos.
Though, the issue is being treated or has been treated by the authorities but it is a clear warning ahead of AFCON 2022...Perhaps it is an indication of what is to come.
Let's refresh our minds with a couple of cases:
TUNISIA 2004 AFCON
Then NFA Chairman, Ibrahim Galadima, was stunned when the embarrassing news of the sex scandal rocked the Super Eagles camp in Tunisia.
Three Super Eagles key players Celestine Babayaro, Victor Agali and Yakubu Ayegbeni were fingered.
The scandal took the centre stage over their all important second match against South Africa's Bafana Bafana. The three players reportedly broke camp rules by lodging girls in the third floor of their fourth floor at the Kuriat Palace Hotel.
A visibly shellshocked Galadima had this to say about the scandal, "It is a shame. It is the worst act of indiscipline. It is unpatriotic and we cannot condone it. We, board members of the Nigeria Football Association met and agreed that we have to decamp them. We don't want them to pollute the other players.
"You 'll agree with me that they cannot continue to be part of the team because they betrayed the camp rules and team spirit of a side that need to salvage their image after their 1-0 loss to Morocco in their opening match of the Nations Cup. I'm in shock"
It was alleged that before the semi-final match against Teranga Lions of Senegal, some players had gone clubbing at a very popular night club, Koko Tee.
It was allegedly reported that they clubs till the wee hours of match day with girls believed to Malians who may have been implanted to bewitch the team with marabouts metaphysical powers since Super Eagles may likely meet host Mali in the finals if both countries crossed the semi-final hurdles.
Recall that after Super Eagles who pipped Liberia 1-0 to qualify for the quarter-final of that tournament the team went partying to celebrate their victory.
Moments after their victory which was ensured by Julius Aghahowa's header that was followed by a flurry of somersaults, the Eagles were conveyed back to their Bamako base where they went partying and clubbing.
MY ADVICE TO AMAJU
The leadership of the NFF must be very careful with the manner it hopes to handle issues like this which may likely come up in Cameroun.
Kudos must be given to the NFF for the manner it has handled the issue of bonuses and allowances of the team especially during tournaments or competitions.
It spelt it out after meetings with the senior players of the team before AFCON and World Cup 2018. This should also be applied in the area of self control or discipline as it concerns the issue of discuss and discourse here.
While the players should be respected and treated as professionals, the NFF must come up with laid down camp rules to guide the team and players throughout the tournament.
A camp commandant must be appointed. He should be a disciplinarian and must be strict and diligent with his job. He should have a team of at least three committed persons to work with.
He must be a comfortable person who may have security or military or para-military experience and background. He must be a strong-willed person who can't be bought over buy the gifts and cash of our players who are very rich....so to say.
The timing of the movements of the team and players especially when the players should go for dinner and or to bed and when they must come for breakfast or file out to board the bus for training should be strictly monitored and adhered to.
The camp commandant must not compromise. And if for any reason he must excuse a player for anything, the coach must be informed and should approve of such.
The players must be told in clear terms that the tournament is strictly business. They have to jettission any side attraction, comfort or fun to focus on the tournament which isn't more than four weeks. It is service to the nation which must be carried out with utmost seriousness.
They should be discipline and professional in the discharge of their duties. Their few hours of sexual satisfaction shouldn't cost the nation joy especially when they consider that victory in AFCON 2022 could help restore peace in the country as we march towards 2023.
Needless reminding them that sports especially through football is a unifying feature that bonds the component parts of this country.
Should they focus and win AFCON 2022, they must have added huge values to their careers by increasing their market value or worth. The choice is theirs but they must equally remember that SEX SCANDALS in tournaments like this rubbishes the image of the country...and not just the reputations of the players involved. It goes to prove that the people are bunch of unserious individuals.