Deep in the heart of every football loving Nigerian (wailer or hailer), we always want the best and very best players to don the jerseys of Super Eagles…..because when and once Super Eagles or any of our national teams shine, we are happy. We forget our sorrows, hunger, starvation, hardship, kidnappings, unemployment, tribalism, religious bigotry and terrorism among others.
We have heard stories of terrorists or insurgents ceasing fire briefly to watch Super Eagles play. And when Super Eagles excel, we hardly hear or experience terrorists attacks within that period. It hurts that our leaders have not explored and exploited the advantages of sports and football in particular to either stop terrorism and other vices or reduce them considerably.
In other words, we wanted the Chelsea duo of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori to play for Nigeria and it hurts us badly that these guys choose England by dumping Nigeria.
But those who supported the decision of these lads to play for England cannot be blamed nor crucified. First, we must accept that no single individual be him or her President or footballer is bigger than Nigeria. For or against, life must go on.
Truth be told, the footballers and athletes or sportsmen and women who abandon Nigeria for other countries do so because they fear for their careers, future and families. For the likes of Justin Fashanu, Ugo Ehiogu and Gabriel Agbonlahor among others who did same years before terrorism became big business in Nigeria, they used their actions by rejecting Nigeria to protest the bad administration of sports particularly football in the country.
They wondered that in the face of huge talents and wealth Nigeria is blessed with you still hear of stories of cutting track suits to play matches, international passports of players forgotten in hotel rooms of officials, players owed bonuses and allowances, nepotism in team selection, FA officials managing players and influencing coaches selection among others.
For those turning their backs at Nigeria today, they fear of terrorism, kidnapping, killings, armed “bandits”, corruption, mindless mismanagement of monies and funds coming into sports, disgraceful treatment of players, treating professionals like amateurs, owing bonuses and allowances which has led to several protests and threats of boycotting games during tournaments….and the shameful open negotiations between players and FA officials over bonuses and allowances days to commencement of a major championship.
Which sane professional footballer born and bred in a sane clime, who have equally experienced the best and workable ways of doing things and has prospects of excelling would want to pitch his tent with the kind of arrangement we have here?
Which sane professional footballer from a sane clime would hear that John Obi Mikel’s father was kidnapped twice and in one of those occasions he was representing the country at the World Cup yet would want to identify with such football environment or system?
Which sane professional footballer from a sane clime would hear that Joseph Yobo’s cousin was once kidnapped while the former was captain of the Super Eagles yet he would agree to relate with such football atmosphere?
Which sane footballer from a sane clime would hear that Samson Siasia’s 80-year old mother was kidnapped twice and on the second occasion she spent months with her abductors yet such a player would love to join such environment?
What of the Late father of former Super Eagles defender, Chikelue Iloenyosi who died literally in the kidnappers’ den?
What of the ways Stephen Keshi and Rashidi Yekini were treated even in death? Which professional footballer from a sane clime would love such treatment?
Which sane professional footballer from a sane clime would be comfortable with the stripping off captain’s armband from a team captain for no reason yet those who engage in this madness that often breaks team spirit would say, a coach has the right to change his captain at will?
Those who dump Nigeria are not only footballers, do we remember Gloria Alozie? The 110m hurdler who was vexed by the way she was treated when she lost her fiancé. (I hope I’m right). She took up Spanish citizenship. Do we remember Francis Obikwelu? One time Africa and European 100m champion. He dumped the country because of poor welfare. He became a hero till date in Portugal. What of Anthony Joshua? Of course, he may be identifying with Nigeria partially but most sincerely, he couldn’t have dumped Britain for Nigeria at his earliest beginning.
Yes, we can move on and even excel as football playing nation without those who dumped Nigeria. Yes, this same porous system has produced legendary footballers and won laurels. Yes, Nigeria can still produce better players than Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori who are just starters but that doesn’t imply that everyone can take risk. Some people value their precious lives more than any other thing.
Yes, I am for moving on. Yes, I am for calling off the perceived “bluff” of Tammy and Tomori. Yes, I am proud to be a Nigerian. Yes, I love my country, Nigeria and the Super Eagles….but I won’t crucify Tammy and Tomori for their decisions. It is their lives. They must protect and cherish them. We can’t love them more than they love themselves. We must look ourselves straight in the eyes and say to ourselves, we are not doing things right. We are not doing the right things to attract goodness. Most of us are bent on destroying this country with our attitude and character.
We steal even what belongs to us. We make the system unworkable. We propagate ethnic wars and exhibit religious madness. We hate ourselves with the anger of Satan. We want to pull down the house called Nigeria. Tammy and Tomori and many others don’t want to be part of this!