Regardless of all mouthing of secession and ethnicity, you need no feeler to know that nothing unites Nigerians more than sports –football especially.
The president even suspended all pressing national matters to welcome the golden eaglets some nights ago, that’s how serious the game is to us.
We all like sports and we’re all agreed something’s wrong with the serial poor performances of our senior cadets at international callings. We want sports that put more emphasis on action and less on the money. We want sports to go back to the basics.
I have some suggestions about how to bring several professional sports back down to earth.
First, our athletes are a disgrace to our collective national pride. In a nation filled with runners and sprinters I see no reason Kenyans should out-class in performance anywhere in the world. What do we do with the Gala sellers in Lagos traffic? Those boys break and set world records daily chasing buses for a fifty naira worth of sale. All we need to do is position a man at the finish line with a fifty naira note as the gun goes and watch in wonder as they would make us proud.
I know for certain, that those Ilaje kids along the Atlantic Ocean would do a better job in the water than the crop of Igbo boys we take to the Olympics.
Also, there could be better use of the Yorubas than admitting them into the basket league despite thrie stunted growth. Instead recruit Fulani boys, who have a pedigree of longer limbs than any other tribe and see how much success they would bring.
In boxing, Bola Tinubu should be made life president of the boxing federation as he has the way to lure his Lagos Agberos into the boxing cadets. These boys are wasting talents harassing bus conductors daily on Lagos roads and punching vehicles bodies into dents.
Next, we’ve got to make losing less profitable. The winner of National Sports Festival goes home with some cash as well as the second and third places. This is ridiculous. Giving cash to losers could make losing popular. The winner should get everything. Give the losers transport fare home. We all know Bash Ali will quit boxing immediately this policy becomes operational and many Igbo boys would rush into sports.
I’d insist that in professional football, the same player that starts a game should end it and any player on the bench for three consecutive games should find another calling. If football players are going to be paid all the money, they ought to have to work full-time, not half time.
Concerning fans and supporters, no citizen should be allowed to support any foreign club. In fact, certification from local club should be a criterion for employment. With such interest these fans will pour into local league we shall see immense turn around in our national league.