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Odegbami: Salah Versus Mane!

Odegbami: Salah Versus Mane!

The Africa Cup of Nations, Africa’s most prestigious football competition, has finally arrived the global stage of recognition.

The continent earned it in three weeks of a great football feast, putting on display the full array of African football – the power, physicality and speed of Sub-Saharan players, the technical skills and organized play of the North Africans, the raw and unadulterated free spirit of the new teams from the deep-South, and energy, fighting spirit and endless running of the Central and East Africans.

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It has been the best of African football in full colour.

For the finals match tomorrow between Senegal and Egypt, there could not have been a better epilogue – Africa’s two best players, Egypt’s Salah, and Senegal’s Mane, leading their countries’ an epic match to decide who takes away the trophy.

FIFA and some European Club managers that wanted the championship cancelled initially have eaten humble pie and are now enjoying Champagne football of a different temperament.

Now, they know better. African football has come of age.

Mega Millions Naija

Through the players performances no one dares in future to raise questions about the quality of the African championship any more, and make an issue of players leaving their European teams to play in Africa. The spectacle will now be part of the global football diet every 2 years.

For Nigerians, it is ironic that the team that the Super Eagles defeated almost without breaking sweat at the start of the championship has become the most tactically competent team of the championship. They are looking more and more like champions with the real prospect of adding one more to their chest of trophies, extending their record as the most successful national team in the history of the African Cup of Nations.

I am wagering on Egypt to lift the trophy, in consolation that it could also have been Nigeria, were the gods not to have been ‘angry’.

I also predict that against Egypt, Mane will have his best game, but will not go home with the trophy.

One Federation, Two Presidents, new crisis?

I truly do not want my fun this weekend dampened by talk of new and unhealthy developments in the Nigerian Basketball Federation, NBBF.

Last week, crisis in the federation reared their ugly head again. Riding on the wave of unfinished business from 2021, the elections into the board of the NBBF became another circus, with one election taking place in Benin City with a FIBA officlal as witness, and another holding in Abuja without any witnesses.

Both groups are now waiting, like a VAR check during a football match, for the Sports Ministry to announce which of the two elections it will recognize. If government is barred from intervention as being touted…why expect them to do so now?

Meanwhile, the Ministry is torn between doing what is proper and just in its reckoning, or surrendering its powers to a federation that cannot have it.

The Ministry’s: main responsibility should be bringing peace back to the entire family of sports, including the basketball federation, as its primary ‘interference’ in this conflct. Beyond that, it has a responsibility to the citizens and the government to deliver its statutory mandate and agenda to develop grassroots and elite sports, and supervise all sports to ensure that their activities are in conformity with policies and laws for sports in the country.

Several of these conflicts have defied resolution by past ministers and are a very irritating distraction for even the current sports minister.

Inadvertently, the Ministry has been sucked into the crisis to such an extent that the public now thinks the ministry is the problem. Whereas, it has also become a pawn in the unrelenting political game being played by members who want power and control over the resources available in three federations (Athletics, Basketball and Football), in particular.

Ideally, the ministry should have no business with the federations in their primary responsibilities to their members, in organizing their programs and competitions and sourcing for funds independently without accounting to anybody.

But as soon as the issue of international competitions comes into play, the lines of separation of roles and responsibilities become a blur, and distortions of facts begin, driven by the lure of loose funds from government and other private sources.

The major international competitions are not the strict and direct responsibility of the Federations. I have said that too many times and very few agree with me and take it seriously, yet that’s how it was, is and will be, unless government chooses to surrender its responsibility of sports development in the country, a role enshrined in Nigeria’s constitution, to private federations.

Under a previous functional structure of sports in the country, those responsibilities were those of the technical arm of the Ministry, the National Sports Commission, NSC, and the National Institute for Sports, NIS, in collaboration with the Nigeria Olympic Committee.

In the absence of the NSC and the NIS, the Ministry that does not naturally present an image of a technically savvy organization, is compelled to deal with federations in an arrangement that creates the blur in fundamental roles and responsibilities. International competitions present the juiciest part of sport – the travels, the allowances, the contracts, the deals, etc….

This has become so attractive and ‘blinding’ that the President of a Federation actually said during an interview that his primary responsibility and attention is the National team of Nigeria, not running and developing the domestic programs of his members. That’s how bad the situation is – so much genuine ignorance. The solution is clear.

The Ministry should let the associations run their programs and competitions for their members (local and international). There should be no recourse to the Sports Ministry for anything. They should secure their secretariats outside the facilities of the Ministry (unless they pay for them.) hire their staff and secretaries independently and run their business.

The Ministry should then take up its proper role and face its proper responsibility of general sports development at the grassroots and elite levels, run the sports institutions that support these developments, construct and manage all federal government sports infrastructure, provide scholarships and grants for elite athletes, prepare Nigerian athletes for specific international games under the auspices of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, and only invite the federations to the party under clear conditions and agreed written agreements.

All the above will be facilitated and accelerated with the immediate return of the NSC and the NIS.

The federations can then work more closely with the ministry and enjoy the attendant largesse only if they surrender some of their powers and subsume their constitution under the laws of Nigeria, and are ready to be partners with the Sports Ministry under some level of supervision.

The bad blood being generated over this intractable matter of elections must be ended now by all means. There are too many aggrieved persons around the federation than for one group to claim victory when there are clear breaches on all sides.

Sports and Diplomacy

The United States, UK and Canada have been protesting against China’s human rights abuses. The governments have withdrawn their officials from attending the games.

For effect, American athletes are not part of the withdrawal so that personal dreams are not sacrificed on the altar of politics. I will be surprised if the USA National anthem will be played when American athletes win. I am watching out for that.

As I am writing this, it has been announced that India has also withdrawn its diplomats from participating at the Winter games, but for a different reason. Their athletes are already at the games and shall participate.

These incidences are Diplomacy at the highest levels of sports. It is a ‘game’ between governments and the biggest International sports body in the world, one that is beyond and above the level of sports federations. At these levels federations are subsumed by the NOCs and the Sports Ministries. This is the stark reality.

At the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the All African Games, particularly, governments and the national Olympic Committees are in absolute charge. They bring in national federations at their discretion.

Navigating this whole area has become the biggest challenge in the sports development architecture of Nigeria. Yet it is simple and clear what needs to be done.

The failure to separate roles and responsibility is the main cause of friction between the Sports Ministry and national federations. Until this fine line is clearly defined and delineated there shall always be crisis in sports in Nigeria.

Segun Odegbami

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 12
  • Congratulations to Liverpool Football Club for winning the AFCON!!!

     
  • Oakfield 10 months ago

    It should have been ndidi vs mane but your wickedness and evil schemes denied us the title. You should be ashamed of yourself for coming out to write a nonsense and useless article regarding other countries’ feat at a mundial we were potential winners. Who doesn’t know that the battle is btw mane and Salah. Even a child on the street knows that. We have failed with our own and you have looked the other way as if nothing happened. If you were a man of integrity you should’ve called out mr egu and crew and scrutinized his tactical deficiencies whilst butressing how absurd it is and unheard of for a country like nigeria to crash out in the round of sixteen just the same way u called out rohr on several occasions even when it was uncalled for. But you pretended as if nothing happened after Going underground for a while and surfacing like a miserable whale that has been starved of oxygen for months. Shame on you mr Ode (the chief ex cricket international). Karma shall visit all of you in due time.

     
  • Don’t mind him if he had been Rohr that led us to this disastrous outing he would have written his tribalistic article but since it’s our own that failed woefully he is trying to diverge from the main point lubbish.

     
  • Igbekun Abo 10 months ago

    Where is that maggot called Dr Dre. Odegbami has spoken so come out and vomit your regular sewage. Lolzzzz Lolzzzz. You are a bastard. Born a bastard, living as a bastard and will die a retard doctor bastard. Lolzzzz

     
    • This guy try to get a sense and don’t take every tantrum here personal also let’s try to comment with sense without biase and hatred.

       
  • Sunnyb 10 months ago

    You guys should go and sit down and show some respects, using emotional blackmailing to attack people because of Rohr’s played out,try new methods. Eguaveon failed to reach the final just like rohr failed to reach the final in the last Afcon. I think is time some of u guys needs to be exhibiting some manners when exhibiting your divergent opinions. Attacking the legendary mathematicians would get u guys. Nowhere,Rohr’s gone for now let’s come together and support what we ve for now, Ghana is beatable.

     
    • @Sunny, please we must learn to respect people when they are doing their jobs without causing others stress or giving failed results.

      I believe the onus of this matter falls on Segun Odegbami himself rather than us.

      We should learn as a people to support someone in this modern day era of doing things rather than looking and instigating for someone’s failure.

      No nation can survive with that sort of mentality, that’s why many companies in Nigeria suffer once you have certain people in positions who like to bring others down so they can shine.

      Like that must always be the way.
      After all Segun Odegbami can be a great sports reverred person if he doesn’t spite bad sentiments about a person skin colour and just looks for great performance.

      But the person that he is will not allow him to live up to that standard. It is too much for him yo commit to mentally and socially.

       
      • Marvelous 10 months ago

        I wonder if that sentimental bigot didn’t watch the Afcon. I wonder if he now lacks words or input to make in the super eagles.

        Oh wait a minute, maybe Equavon is ready to inpute his boys from the NPFL that’s why he diverting from writing about the super eagles.

        I remember all the trash he use to write when Rohr was in charge. This man is one of the reasons we had the worst AFCON ever in 30 years.

         
  • Oakfield 10 months ago

    “in consolation that it could also have been Nigeria, were the gods not to have been ‘angry’”…… Oh, really???? When karma begins to fight, the wicked would say it is the gods… Hahaha…. Yes, you right mr Ode, the gods are not happy with u for maltreating an innocent man. The gods are not happy with you bcs u stood against what was right bcs of your selfish interests. Now, you have now confessed with the same mouth u used to speak evil, fire and brimstone against a good man that the gods are not happy. This is just the beginning. By the time karma is don with u eh, hehehehe… Na sorry go be your name. When rohr lost, it was his fault. He was described by many including u as an opportunist and a PE teacher, now their own has lost having been beating hands down by an unknown assitant coach, it is the gods that are responsible…. Hahahaha…. Chai! Some people no get shame at all. Oga, it would’ve been better u shut your mouth than come here to disgrace yourself. Suddenly, you have turned a spiritualist to know it was the gods were responsible. Hahaha…. E don dy happen small small. All of you owe that man an apology and until you do that, nigeria would never see anything good come their way as far as football is concerned. You shall perform but fumble when it would matter most. That would be your tale until u swallow ur pride and apologize to rohr. When u schemed and startegized on your next line of evil action against rohr, you forgot that the gods were watching. Now, the day of reckoning is beginning to dawn on you and your miserable evil group. Nigeria paraded the best and strongest team at the mundial. Not even Senegal, Egypt or Cameroun were even close to their quality but wickedness, greed, corruption and of course karma pushed us down the drain. Apologise to rohr and pay him all you owe him and it shall be well with you.

     
  • Dennis 10 months ago

    Segun odegbami is a clown that shouldn’t be taking serious. This man never saw anything good in rohr and said coming 3rd shouldn’t be something to rejoice about. He convinietly left out the part that ‘our own’couldnt qualify for a mere AFCON consecutively. He left out the part that we were ranked 72nd in the world and 16th in Africa when rohr was appointed. He left out the part that we suddenly qualified with ease to major competitions, rose to 3rd in Africa after the AFCON and later ended at 5th. We rose to 33rd in the world and ended at 35th. This clown said the renewed contract given to rohr was designed in such a way that he would turn it down, despite the man meeting all targets. How crass and wicked is that. If he can tear rohr apart for coming 3rd,why is eguaveon being praised to high heaven for finishing in the round of 16, losing to a covid ravaged squad and one that was without their coach? I guess the era of accepting bribe just to bring in unqualified players in now back.

    Una well done.

     
  • KENNETH 10 months ago

    Please don’t come her and be spilling lies. Which Nigeria was ranked 72nd when Rohr was coach? You guys are just hurt because the man was kicked out for his incompetence. Make una leave baba sege alone. Many of you has never achieved what he has for this country. When did it become a crime for him to express his opinion. Abi are you not doing the same. He has been calling for his sack from day one. But it took 6 years for those moron in the NFF to do the needful. So please what did he win us in his 6 years at the helm. Nothing but boring football. So please stop crying over spilled milk. Uncle sege is a complete administrator, you think if he was given the chance to become NFF chairman, things would not change for the best. Like have said. Make una off your TV, better still thrash your TV because we have a new coach. Let your PE teacher go look for job else where. we don’t care

     
    • Oakfield 10 months ago

      Kicked out bcs of incompetence????l hahah. Pls can u tell us how rohr was incompetent. U really need to defend this assertion of yours with facts. If a man that usually qualified us with games to spare for tournies, met all the targets given to him against the odds whilst being owed backlog of wages and having his choice of stadia for crucial matches wickedly turned down, got results when it mattered most and came third in his first international competition attempt is termed incompetent, I wonder what you’d call a man that couldn’t take us past the round of 16 after playing tiki football. Some people just open their mouths to talk just bcs the head someone without common sense talking.