Racism in Football: FIFA Must Live and Lead By Good Examples!

By Adeola Aderounmu

Some things should not be taken for granted by FIFA and when necessary immediate amends should be made and apology or apologies tendered.

Where am I heading?

The coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles have been left out of the shortlisted candidates for the coach of the year award by FIFA.

In the times past, FIFA and CAF ignored the likes of Okocha for World and African footballer of the year awards even when we saw that at some points, Okocha was the best player in Africa and probably the world.

Keshi is one of only two men who has won the African Nations Cup as a player and a coach – the other being Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary (source BBC Sports)

Keshi is the only African coach to have qualified two countries to the World Cup. He led Togo to the 2006 Finals but was fired before the tournament kicked off. Now he is taking Nigeria to Brazil in 2014.

The Super Eagles did not lose any gain in the campaign towards Brazil 2014.

Now, can FIFA answer this question? What is the basis/ What are the bases or criteria for shortlisting FIFA’s coach of the year?

Is it the colour of your skin?

Is it the continent you live on?

Is it the country you come from?

If FIFA’s criteria are based on achievements, why is Stephen Keshi not on the list?

Is FIFA a promoter of racism in football?

I think people and African especially should be asking questions about the activities of FIFA.

There are many scandals in the past that have been treated with kid-gloves or swept under the carpets especially the bribery scandals. No one knows how far up the scandal eventually reached, we just knew that a few scape goats were brought to the spotlight.

That Keshi did not make the shortlist is a scandal!!!

No one is saying that Keshi should win, but respect is reciprocal. Keshi has been disrespected by FIFA.

FIFA is telling Africans that the football achievements on the continent of Africa is meaningless and inconsequential, me think!

When FIFA does not respect Africa or African coaches and footballers, what do we expect from the racist football fans around the world?

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Adamu de-Brands Nigeria…FIFA has spoken

Adeola

FIFA has now found Nigerian Amos Adamu guilty of trying to sell his vote for the world cup bid.

I discussed this briefly in a recent post here on this blog .

The guy has been suspended for 3 years.

I should think that the evidence against him were convincing to Fifa Ethics committee. Adamu was caught on camera and I hope he stops pushing the case himself because the video may end up on YouTube.

My concern here is the way Adamu’s image has been splashed on all the major newspapers around the world and how once again the rebranding of Nigeria has been rubbished.

This is what you get when you cannot clean your house and going ahead to trying to clean the streets.

Adamu’s shameful and disgraceful involvement in this scandal is both a reflection and a boomerang of the Nigerian civil service where everything revolves around corruption, settlements and unimaginable acceptable codes of conducts.

Just last week roads were commissioned in Ikenne Ogun State in Nigeria by Goodluck Jonathan. There are reports that the roads already have pot holes. In less than one week!

It shows that the governor of the state is corrupt and the man who left Abuja to Ikenne to commission a bad road is…?

And for the past 6 days there has not been electricity in Ikenne.

This is Adamu’s background, a society founded on rot and gross ineptitude.

He should use the last pride and dignity in him to vacate FIFA and sport altogether. But No, not in Nigeria.

I will NEVER be surprised if he is rewarded in Nigeria with the position of the Sports Minister. Nigeria has several ways of rewarding stupidity and corruption.

Unless something unthinkable happens, this case is nothing to Nigeria and the further elevation of Adamu nationally is around the corner.

You must love my country of birth.

FIFA suspends Two Members Provisionally

Adeola Aderounmu

FIFA today 20th Oct unanimously suspended Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii. Provisional suspension is based on FIFA’s principles and code of conducts.

There will be another meeting in Nov to reach a final decision / verdict. FIFA wants the rights of the individuals involved to be respected until the matter is finally concluded, say in the next 30 days.

FIFA HAMMERS NIGERIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION

Nigeria is in the news again for the wrong reason. From this week we cannot play any form of football on the African continent and worldwide.

Government has intervened continuously in the administration of football in Nigeria. As a matter of fact I think FIFA shares in the blame. Nigeria has hosted major football tournaments and each time she does FIFA is always so entangled to the Nigerian government in manners that beat my imaginations.

I think the Nigerian government got carried away by the relationship it had with FIFA and so the individuals in government did not know when to draw the lines.

We have hosted the U-21 and U-17 championships and on both occasions FIFA was actually dealing directly with the Federal and States Governments. Jack Warner knows all about these.

I am not saying FIFA is totally as fault. I mean FIFA had permitted the permeation of football administration and tournament organisation by the Nigerian government on two occasions instead of insisting on the football association in Nigeria to do the proper organisation and hosting.

FIFA permitted the Nigerian government to apply the fire brigade approach on two occasions as mentioned above.

Anyway you will think that this ban will inculcate some lessons into the greedy and corrupt football/ government officials in Nigeria. Wait until the ban is lifted, it will be business as usual.

I can almost not see anywhere in Nigeria where we have learnt from history and past events. People with the shortest myopic perspective in the world live in Nigeria. As soon as an event passes, we forget the lessons and the never apply our hearts to wisdom on how to make things work better.

Football administration in Nigeria has been in the hands of crude and unintelligent minds-people who probably know nothing about football administration. If you conduct tests about football, sports and sports administration for these people, their level of mentality will leave you spell bound for the rest of your lives.

How did they get there? Good question.

In Nigeria my country of birth, merit is dead. They use one useless thing called federal character in assigning positions and assignments. It means any fool can occupy any top position because he is from a certain part of Nigeria. Nigerians are united with their lips while their hearts are far apart. They so hate one another you will not imagine the depth.

The FIFA ban is about football but it is a total reflection of what is wrong with Nigeria. It is part of the reason why poverty and diseases continue to spread like wild fires. In Nigeria the jobs are never given to the people who are qualified or fit for the positions. Some people call it paddy-paddy.

Federal character and paddy-paddy at the expense of both merit and technical know-how have completely destroyed Nigeria.

I am not happy about the ban but I am not in a rush either for it to be lifted.

Nigerians must learn one thing. That is at some point we must begin to do things the right way. We must do the right thing always.

Imagine a premiership football in Nigeria with no relegations…what type of nonsense and stupidity is that. Imagine also all the Hullaballoo about the election, annullment, court cases and so on. What is wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians?

The federal character must be abolished. The person who can and who is qualified should be elected or appointed to do a given job. If he or she fails there must be buoyant mechanisms to allow for replacement according to guidelines or constitutions.

This affects every aspect of our lives including the forthcoming (future) political elections.

Nigeria and Nigerians must negotiate the turning point of their common history, the status quo remain a consistent recipe for continuous failure and international embarrassments.


UPDATE:

FIFA provisionally lifted the ban and Nigeria can continue to play their qualifying games for the Nations Cup.

Mr. Jonathan, No, You can’t suspend Nigerian Football!

Adeola Aderounmu

Is Goodluck Jonathan A Dictator in the Making?

There are reports that Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the Nigerian Football Team from participating in future competitions for the next 2 years. According to him this will allow Nigeria to reorganise her football.

Sometimes I wonder if Nigerian politicians are from planet earth. Does Mr. Jonathan know FIFA rules concerning football? Do we have advisers in Abuja? Does Nigeria have a Ministry of Sports that Jonathan can consult for information and knowledge about football?

You cannot suspend your team from International competition. If you do, FIFA will help you by extending the suspension for another 2 or 4 years.

Nigeria does not need to suspend her national team from International competition to be able to do things the right way. Common sense shows that that is a negative approach.

There are ignorant people running football in Nigeria and we have said it many times without number: let those who know about football run our football. Let seasoned administrators and tested hands handle our sports. There are trained sports administrators in Nigeria. Look for them.

And when it concerned football look for our ex-internationals at home and abroad. They can do things right. Bring back Stephen Keshi, call on Oliseh among many others. The list is endless!

Segun Odegbami has been in this field for decades. Look for him and people like him scattered across Nigeria. Let those who know football run our football.

Mr Jonathan does not need to suspend the National Team. That is bad judgement and an indication of dictatorial tendencies. We are supposed to be under civilian rule, not tyranny or military rule. You can’t wake up from a bad dream and say the National team is dissolved.

Please get this right. There are thousands of football talents in Nigeria who can take our country to greater heights. Catch them young and play them with their real ages!

I think the most important thing is to eliminate politics from our sports. Until then, we are only chasing shadows like Mr Jonathan is doing now.

On the other hand, rather than using such a strong hand on our football, Mr. Jonathan should use his strong hand and will to bring prosperity to Nigeria. I don’t think football is our problem.

Corruption is eating Nigerian deep, ever since 1960 anyway. If you are such a principled man, please leave the footballers alone and go after your likes-politicians who are looting and carrying away our national wealth.

Over 70% of Nigerians are living below the poverty level, please divert your energy away from the footballers and think of how you can reduce the percentage of Nigerians living under acceptable conditions of human existence.

There are loads of problems facing us in Nigeria. Football is the least of them. Go to Jos and live among the people for 1 weeks, try to understand their rotten mentalities and why they continue to kill one another.

Go to Borno and see the basis for the emergence of Boko Haram.

From East to West, from North to South, please go around and see what you can do to bring better the good life of the 50s and 60s. This country is dying, leave the footballers alone and focus on how to create employment opportunities, how to build good roads, how to make water flow into our homes and our to ensure that my children get quality education.

Above all, suspend that 10 billion naira that you are about to waste on a common party! Divert the fund into procurement of cancer testing machines for Nigerian decaying hospitals. Save a life today Mr Jonathan. The children are crying!

Related Story on BBC Africa SportsNigeria facing explusion from Fifa

FIFA says Footballers Can Play with their Hands

By Adeola Aderounmu

I’m hoping to see a new kind of foot-hand-ball in South Africa 2010.

FIFA says its okay for footballers to play with their hands as long as they don’t use their hands to prevent a goal. Fantastic!

This is what I gathered from the “Henry will not be punished” report. He was not seen by the referee and he didn’t use his hands to prevent a goal. According to FIFA, he only used his hands to aid scoring a goal. AND it’s ok to do that, they said.

So there you go-al footballers. Score with your hands but please don’t stop the ball from going into the nets with your hands.

Goodluck to the best foot-hand-ball team in South Africa. Let the celebration begin…!

Segun Odegbami on Nigerian U-17 Age Cheats (a must read by FIFA and NFF)

Written By Segun Odegbami

It is Wednesday night. I am sitting and wondering what to write about this week. The eye of the world is riveted on the World Cup Draws event. I may be there for the show and shall report my experiences on this page.

From next week those of us in the business of football analysis will have a field day peering into our crystal balls and predicting how games will go, how players will play, and how far Nigeria can get from the opposing teams that will be thrown up by the draws. Until that happens I am checking my mailbox for anything interesting.

I open my box and find one amongst tons of letters that attracts my full attention. It accuses me of complicity in the matter of the recently-concluded under-17 FIFA championship and wonders why I have not commented since the conclusion of the event either about the ‘successful’ organisation of the event or the exhilarating performances of the Golden Eaglets, a performance that seems to have soothed the nerves of Nigerians and lifted their spirit in contrast to the Super Eagles’ World Cup qualifying matches that kept people’s blood-pressure soaring high through most of the months of the campaign.

The writer wonders if Adokie Amiasimaka has not now been vindicated by the silence that has now followed his explosive revelation during the championship that the Nigerian captain is a twenty-something year old man and not the teenager he claims to be.

The majority point of view is that even if Adokie had the evidence his timing was wrong and that he should have waited until the end of the championship, allowed the visitors to go, and then raised the matter! Well, it has been weeks since the championship ended. Nothing has happened. No one is saying or doing anything. Is the issue raised by Adokie not of significance any more? Has time diminished the relevance of inquiry and verification of the issue? Has the matter been overtaken by events? Should it be forgotten and swept under the carpet?

I am thinking. Obviously my silence has not escaped the attention of some observant public. I owe it to my readers to express an opinion one way or the other. My first reaction is a reminder of an article I wrote ahead of the championship. In that piece I promised I shall only celebrate Nigeria’s victory or performance if it is achieved with integrity.

The greatest gift I give myself all the time is the right to choose who I want to be and how I want my every action and word to reflect the greatest version of myself. I’d rather be silent than embrace standards and values that diminish who I am. It has been with great difficulty that I have resisted the temptation to ventilate my feelings on the under-17 championship and damn the consequences. But common sense has held me back, and, so, my deafening silence.

I guess I am waiting, like many others, for the ‘appropriate’ time, when no one shall be accused of being unpatriotic; when no one shall be accused of taking cheap shots at those in NFF today because they want to discredit them so as to remove them and take over their positions; when the international community will not be around and no one can be accused of washing dirty linens in public; when my words would not be seen as a stain on my country’s image and reputation; and when it will not be considered ‘sinful’ to keep silent in the face of tyranny!

Unfortunately, the more I think of it the more it dawns on me how bad our situation really is. Such time will never come! As far as most Nigerians are concerned the Under-17 championship has come and gone; Adokie’s ‘wrong’ is making his allegation during the championship; the FIFA President has made his own pronouncement on the matter and insisted indirectly that it was not FIFA’s business to question the integrity of a country’s documentation to determine the age of its players; and the matter is dead and buried and over! Next chapter!

Unfortunately for some of us the fundamental issues in the matter cannot be swept under the carpet because they impact on the future of our children, on the development of our cherished game, on the image and reputation of our country and on our individual and collective values as Nigerians. When, therefore, will be the ‘right’ time to speak up and do something?

For the sake of the reader whose mail has precipitated my present thought process permit me to reproduce excerpts from an article I wrote a few weeks before the championship. It provides the answer for my present silence and why I did not join in celebrating the Eaglets.

The Golden Eaglets Must Win With Integrity!

In 1988, after the 1987 World Youth championship, in my naivety and with the purest of intentions I did not have to do more than a cursory logical computation, peeling the skin from the information that was in the public domain, to scream out loud that some of the players we used in the championship could not be the ages they claimed.

Those who were in charge of Nigerian football at the time were enraged. It was such a ‘heinous’ crime that I became victim of unwritten ostracisation from football administration for many years after that. It was such a serious charge, with potentials for massive international scandal that, were there no elements of some truth, I would have been sued for treason!

The shock is that there was not even a whimper from the football authorities. Against a lack of evidence to ‘convict’ anyone it became a matter of time before everyone went silent and became part of the complicity!

The most annoying defence put up by some people is that other countries (mostly from Africa) must be guilty of the same offence. A few years after the 1987 incident the country was caught in a documentation malpractice and was suspended by FIFA for a few years suffering international humiliation.

After that, rather than create better ways of verifying documents, the country ‘invested’ in perfecting documents submitted on the players to FIFA.

So, the initial cancer ate deeper into the fabric! The rewards for success at that level became too alluring that many Nigerians joined in the racket. It became such a lucrative business that hordes of academies sprung up all over the country marketing supposedly young players and as a result parents and agents in the country would do almost anything to get their wards into the under-17 category of the national team!

Cheating became an acceptable practice with parents and some football institutions as willing agents. Sports greatest values were abandoned on the altar of lucre. Hard work, morals, discipline, and fair play lost their place as the means to success!

Everyone in sport knew what was going on but was helpless against the practise, silenced by the overwhelming celebrations of ‘successes’ that left a hollow feeling in the pits! It was great to be part of a national celebration of ‘success’ but it was such a moral burden that many people had to live with, accepting unashamedly that cheating was okay for as long as others were probably also doing it. (I then wrote about a Nigerian lad who played at the NUGA games two years ago, was in 300 level when he did, had left the country for two years after NUGA and was a member of the under-17 team in camp!)

The arithmetic is easy to work out! No matter the computation one comes up with, no matter the allowances one makes up for early schooling, ingenuity and academic excellence, no matter the parameters used in measuring rapid acceleration through the classes, there is no way such a player that left secondary school 7 years ago would be less than 17 years old by October 2009!

There would have been many Nigerians that know this young man, starting from his parents, his teachers in primary and secondary school, his mates in the neighbourhood he grew up in, his class and school mates through Primary, secondary and university.

In October 2009, we all would have sat and watched this young man outplay children 7 or 8 years his junior, ‘excelled’ and brought ‘victory’ to Nigeria. We would have feted him, celebrated him and made him a hero. We would have rewarded him with gifts and honours along with his co-conspirators in this racket, made him a model for the next generation and perpetuated falsehood and cheating!

Yet, we would have known all the time that this is a moral baggage; that the victory, the glory, the honours, the accolades, all was fraudulently achieved and undeserved.

This country is in darkness. Even in sport that brings us so much joy, and draws from us the best in our talent and potentials as human beings so abundantly blessed by God, knowing fully well that we can win cleanly, with dignity and integrity, we choose instead the short cut and selling our souls in the end!

Nigeria does not have to win the FIFA under-17 championship by all means. But who says the country cannot win it with its best students under-17? Even if they don’t NOW the country would have started the process of developing authentic talents, the ones that represent the values we want to stand for as a nation that would go ahead into the future with experiences and exposure from the 2009 event to become winners of bigger trophies in the years to come! That I can truly celebrate!

So that’s it. That’s why I did not celebrate. Let me take the argument one step further than Adokie. Let me put my foot in it properly, after all there can be no more international sanctions following confirmation by the FIFA President himself that all the players that took part in the championship were of the correct age. So, that’s settled. I have no problem with one player being over-aged in the Nigerian team. What I actually have problem with is the challenge of identifying just one in the entire team that is actually under-17.

Just as the lord told his prophet that if he finds only one person righteous in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he would spare both cities from destruction, so am I thinking that if I can find just one player in the entire Golden Eaglets team, still in secondary school, and below the age of 17 at the time of the last tournament I shall never write a line about cheating again in Nigerian football and shall apologise to all Nigerians. It is that bad!

segunodegbami@hotmail.com

(Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper 5th dec 2009)