FIFA, Nigeria and Under-17 age cheat: Leave Amiesimaka alone

A message to FIFA

by Adeola Aderounmu.

Amiesimaka is an ex-international for the Nigerian Green Eagles. He wrote about the Nigerian under-17 team and that there are overage players in the Nigerian team. He is right! Nigeria always field players who are older than 17 and that is why many of the boys disappear into thin air after the competitions. Only a negligible percentage of them play football for 5 or 10 years more after the age competitions.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) should leave Amiesimaka alone and stop deceiving the world. As Nigerians we cannot deceive ourselves, we know the truth. Of course there are several countries fielding over age players in these FIFA age group competitions. The only way out is for FIFA to disqualify teams/ countries that cheat. For example countries that cheat should face ban of up to 10 years. Without that FIFA is just wasting time with these age-group competitions, esp the under 17. It’s all rubbish!

Some people argue that Amiesimaka would have been mute if he was part of the LOC. That can be argued. If he was in the LOC, maybe he would have prevented over age players from being registered. Perhaps he could have used his experience to assist NFF in identifying over age players that are not detected or tested by the MRI used by FIFA. We will never know the role that Amiesimaka would have played if he was in the LOC. But it is stupidity to think or conclude that he would be a part to age-cheat. It is carelessness to think that he would encourage that.

The ball is always back to FIFA’s court. The players that Amiesimaka have pointed out should be tested by the MRI. If the players are found to have lied about their ages, Nigeria should be disqualified and sent packing. The country should be disqualified for a decade if possible. As mentioned earlier FIFA should intensity the MRI and try to detect if other countries have also cheated. To do nothing about this allegation is to further encourage corruption in football. It will be true to speculation that football is run like a mafia organisation-that host country/team for example can get away with football crimes.

For us as a country we need men and women of honour. We need people who can speak the truth and live by it. We live in a country in search of honour and integrity. We live in a time when corruption, lies, deceit, unfaithfulness and political madness have destroyed our sense of social responsibilities (including sports). Somewhere along the line (with revelations like this one from Amiesimaka) there are still signs of hope that Nigeria will rise again. This will only be possible with men and women of honour who have what it takes to lead by good examples.