By PAUL BASSEY:
Today, an elated President Goodluck Jonathan will, true to tradition receive and honour the Super Falcons who last Saturday in Windhoek, Namibia, made the nation proud by winning for a record 7th time, the Africa Women Championship, AWC.
As a Nigerian, I was elated sitting there at the Sam Nujoma Stadium as the girls strutted their stuff…..
Though I knew that we were going to win, I had some doubts when the team list was distributed and I saw the Camerounians fielding EIGHT foreign based professionals in the starting line up, to our country’s three (Onome Ebi, Desire Oparanozie and Francisca Ordega).
Did I say eight? If you add Bou Cathy who plays for Bayelsa Queens, then the Cameroonians had NINE professionals in their starting eleven (Four from France, two from Romania, two from Sweden and one from Nigeria). When the game started I had no choice but pay tribute to a Women league back home that is not sponsored or well run, neglected and despised!
The high points of the match to me were the two goals. The training ground text-book delivery of Oparanozie after hard working Ordega and Oshoala had sold dummies to the opposition and the near perfect combination between Ordega and Oshoala that ended with the Player of the tournament ( Oshaola) sneaking behind the Cameroonian defence to score. A typical predator’s goal, if you ask me.
Those moments notwhistanding, I take away from Namibia, off the field lessons in patriotism, team spirit, focus and the will to succeed. I bring back to Nigeria the story of a team that was not paid allowances or bonuses, yet they persevered, refused to be distracted and went on to triumph.
Yes I know the work the technical crew led by Coach Edward Okon and the leader of delegation, Mrs Dilichukwu Onyedinma put in to keep them focused and all credit must go to them.The story of the unpaid salaries of Coach Okon is another story. I visited him in the Economy class of the aircraft, crammed for space with his girls…. All hail Super Eagles.
Does that not remind you of Brazil? How a bunch of greedy players and their handlers held us to ransom? Refused to train and insisted that until “their monies” were paid they were not going to kick a ball? Such was the humiliation on world stage as they spent the night and the wee hours of the morning sharing their booty, thereby sacrificing a key second round match!
It was also in Windhoek I was told that the parents of Courtney Dike, one of the girls we took to the FIFA U-20 Women’s Championship in Canada (Scorer of the competition’s historic fastest goal) insisted that their daughter should not receive a dime in the form of allowance or bonus! For them playing for Nigeria was enough honour that should not be paid for.
The first question I asked them was whether the Sports Minister was aware (the sports minister told me he was aware and was interested in what happened to her unspent bonus and the monetary award given by Mr President, since she had gone back to school in Oklahoma USA, and was not physically around to collect it).
Was President Jonathan told when he was honouring the girls? In a country where we are fast running short of heroes Mr Dike deserves a national honour for inculcating in his daughter the lasting spirit of patriotism……what you can do for your country!
On Monday, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick led the way when he checked them into the prestigious Eko Hotel. The girls were shocked. Before now, it was customary to herd them into town in a truck and throw them into a nondescript hotel. Today, the President that I know, their reward will start flowing, including all the areas of bonuses and allowances owed.
Well done dear girls, well done.
MR WRITER, YOU WENT TO NAMIBIA RIGHT? DID YOU COLLECTED YOUR SUPPOSED ALLOWANCE OR NOT? IF NOT , HOW DID YOU FELL, IF YOU WERE NOT GIVEN ANYTHING. WHEN YOU CAME BACK, DID YOU HAVE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR POCKET? B4 WE POINT AT OTHER WE SHOULD KNOW THAT THE REST FOUR FINGER IS POINTED AT US
Please read this article very well. If all Nigerians will take a second to think of what they can do for this great country of ours and not what the country will do for them, then this country will be better for it. Learn from the Dikes. It is a good lesson on patriotism.
Although the act by Courtney dike and her family seems commendable, I know better! I know about college athletics in the US and the NCAA rules on paid performances. if she were to accept any money for her participation she will be considered a professional thereby losing her eligibility to play college sports. So on the surface it seems commendable but looking at the full scope we can see that she and her family were merely keeping her eligible. But in all, players should be patriotic whatever the reason!
Dike refuse the allowance because she play’s soccer for her college and she had signed with National Collegiate Athletic Association of America (NCAA) the body that organize college sport in America not to receive payment or endorsement within and outside her college, as long as she remain a student representing her college. Am happy they won the competition, which is good for us because we’ll be representing Africa at the world cup as African Champions(if we don’t fall under Fifa’s harm) But we need to tell ourselves the truth.
So am asking ”What do you want” Am not asking you as a writer but as a Nigerian. Do you want people that can stand up to leaders that knows the right things to do and will chose not to do them because they know no body will hold them responsible, or because they have some journalist on their pay role that will paint people who stand up against them as bad people and unpatriotic.
Or you want people that will let elected leaders do what every they want and go away with it and fold their hands and do nothing.
The two are rewarding and detrimental depending on what side of the fence you’re sitting.
Dear Mr Bassey, i think it is preposterous and rather shameful that you(member of the Former NFF board) can gloat over patriotism in the midst of unpaid allowances .It is crass incompetence on the part of the administrators to owe the coach likewise the girls their allowances.The NFF board under which you served is considered as the best ever in my personal opinion but with its attendant weaknesses that you are here gloating over.We certainly have lost every moral fibre in us as people if you make such utterances like you have on the pages of a national daily.Please show some decency next time
Mr. Bassey is not a member of the NFF board.
This is absolute touching story, I think every Nigerian should emulate the Dike’s for this act.No matter where we are we should remember to be a good ambassador of our great nation, Nigeria
Nigerians are smarter than your cheap deceptive sentiment. I am glad others have done your job for you by explaining why Dike did not want to get paid. She is a college athlete, so if she recieve payment that makes her a professional and so diqualifies her to compete for her school and she will loose her scholarship. I commend her and her brother for choosing to compete for Nigeria. Your story should be why NFF can not afford to pay the indeginous national team coaches and the allowances of thier players, but yet claim to have money to pay a foriegn coach. The propoganda the NFF and media have executed has been successful, Nigerians are not asking them what happened to the money provided durring the world cup, Nigerians are not asking why there is not one world class facility for players to train and play yet we want to win the world cup, Nigerians are not asking Why a country of 170 Million football loving people NFF has failed to launch a successful marketing program to raise money but still run to the FG for fund, but they have run many successful propaganda against coaches and players. Mr Paul these are some of the stories Nigerians expect from you.
Mr Paul Bassey,
With this piece, i’ve finally lost the little respect i had left for you. Is Nigeria a poor country? How can you call the super eagles greedy? We all know what will be the end of the allowance if they didn’t fight hard to collect it. In my opinion, the only reason why the players fight to collect their bonuses is because of greed…not on the part of the players but the NFF!
Do you think players from other countries don’t get paid their allowances? You don’t hear about them because their FA is competent to handle their business.
Why don’t you spend more time on investigating what happened to the Bonus due to Dike? If it was returned back to govt coffers.
Useless Paul Bassey, so you’re still writing all this egunje stuff? Yeye man, one incompetent journalist who wants to be football coach. Please tell all this to your fellow hustlers who use the NFF to no end. You have been a problem in our football, that’s the truth. How can a worker not earn his wage? You writing this crap tell us how much you sacrificed throughout your destructive time at the NFF. They play at being patriotic but we know them they are the enemies of Nigeria, the Paul Basseys of this world.
My fellow soccer-loving Nigerians,there is no need for name-calling,insults or abuses;please. Mr Bassey gave his own opinion and we should give ours;with more depth. If the right thing had constantly been done,players would NEVER hold Nigeria to ransome. Well done girls,U have done ur country well. Courtney Dike,keep up the good work…
I believe if you ask a responsible Nigerian citizen to choose between $7000 and $35000,my believe is that 99% of Nigerian will choose the latter.Dike and her family simply refused money because of NCAA RULES.