Thursday, 25 June 2015

THE GLASS HOUSE ROCKS NIGERIAN FOOTBALL AGAIN

FOOTBALL NIGERIA:

THE GLASS HOUSE ROCKS NIGERIAN FOOTBALL AGAIN
AS KADUNA GETS SET TO HOST AFCON 2017 QUALIFIERS



No two things set Nigeria's rumor-mill and media (traditional and new), on overdrive like football and politics. Nigeria's football governing body, NFF is almost always at the centre of these media triggers. The most recent furor is about a  comment by Nigeria's first choice goal keeper, Vincent Enyeama, that the venue (Kaduna, in the Northern region of Nigeria) selected for Super Eagles qualifying match against the Egyptian National side, may be unsafe for the players.

The NFF strongly criticized the Super Eagles captain and issued him a query.

Now here is the problem: The NFF alleges that Vincent Enyeama tore the query letter right in front of whoever delivered the letter to him. Enyeama came out to speak on Brilla FM last week that he did not tear the query letter, and really, being a responsible member of the Super Eagles, he could not have done so. In spite of his denials however he apologized  on the same media to the NFF and Nigeria's football loving community as a whole.




THE COMPLICATION:

The NFF refused to accept this apology and further issued a summons to Enyeama to appear before a disciplinary committee headed by Barrister Chris Green, at the glass house on Tuesday 23rd June 2015 to explain himself. The committee sat for the whole day and Enyeama did not appear.

PUBLIC RESPONSE:

Until 6.00 PM on Tuesday, Nigeria's football loving community waited anxiously for feedback from the glass house as to what would be the final decision of the disciplinary committee now that Enyeama failed to appear before it.

No comments were issued from the committee and Nigerians were divided over their opinion of Enyeams's conduct. About 30% of all callers into local radio sports programs across the country called for the ban of Enyeama from the Super Eagles saying that this sort of indiscipline could rob off on the other members of the team and cause problems for the team officials. 60% of callers however believed the NFF was making a mountain out of a mole hill citing the facts of the security situation in Northern Nigeria as evidence.

The whole world knows that the Northern regions of Nigeria are struggling to grapple with Boko Haram insurgency, and in spite of recent successes by the Nigerian army, there are still some real threats in quite a number of the Northern states.

Another 10% of callers believed NFF is not only distracting the team with this irrelevant issue , but the body is more or less distracting itself from its core function at this moment which is providing the enabling environment and all necessary assets for the Super Eagles to go ahead and win that match.

MY TAKE:
Enyeama did not call a press conference all by himself. Secondly he only expressed his sincere fears-- fears all Nigerians hold even if we make believe we are not bothered. Moreover he did not call or ask players to boycot the match. The NFF should come out and explain to Nigerians the rationale behind taking the match to Kaduna when there are much safer venues around the country and stop trying to victimize Enyeama for merely expressing a self evident truth.

Optimistic as we are we could not have forgotton January 8th 2010 so soon when the Togolese National team was attacked by terrorists. Lives were lost. The lives of our footballers must mean something to us, surely.
 

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