Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Patriotism Of Footballers

As we count down to the world cup; I find myself thinking of some of the issues that have caught my attention in football. I have seen over time, how many players, around the world, handled the perennial club versus country row.  

I find that in Europe, it is a non-issue. Players simply want to play for their countries. They see that as the height of their careers.

In Africa, on the other hand, the reverse is the case. African players want to play for their clubs first, and their country second. A queer example of this is Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayo, who is not twenty seven yet, according to his football age, who has retired from international football. His club is very happy!

But not everything has been negative with African football. I admire the way the Arsenal duo of Song of Cameroun, and Ebou of Cote d' Ivoire , love wearing their country colours on their wrists when they play. They seem to be saying" I may be playing for Arsenal, but my heart is with my country"  This, then begs the question, Why do we not see the same thing with Nigerian players? 

Is it that our players are not patriotic, or they just do not see the need for these outlandish, and "childish" displays of patriotism? I believe it is because nothing back home reminds them of their value, and worth! 
To whom much is given, much is expected. We have not given our players any reason to be patriotic.

When I say "we", I do not mean the man on the street, he worships every player that wears the green and white, I am referring to the leeches that govern Nigerian football. Those who feed fat on the blood and sweat of our players.

If we investigate how many officials from Nigeria, their wives, children, and girlfriends, are going to the world cup, at government expense, we would find that they would form ninety percent of our contingent to South Africa. Our players, who are the reason for the officials going, on the other hand are there alone, they do not have the same opportunity.

Then there is the issue of how we treat our players when they are injured. Emmanuel Amunike, and Daniel Amokachi's injuries come to mind. 

It seems a player is only useful to Nigeria, as long as he is fit. The moment he is injured, he is on his own. 

We have done this to countless players over time, remember Dosu Joseph? The new generation, like Mikel Obi, do not want to risk their career for Nigeria: it is not worth it!They know that when you play for Nigeria, you do not play with your "real feet", or your heart, you reserve those for your club. 

Do not put all your strength in a tackle. It may be your last, and you may end up driving a kabukabu for the rest of your life.That is why they play like ballet dancers dancers for Nigeria, and when they get to their clubs, they are fighting tigers.

Meanwhile, you see officials in football, living large on the sweat and blood of these poor boys. 

So, do I expect our players to give their all at the world cup, they would because they know it is an opportunity for moving to a better club, this is what Nigeria would benefit from. 

Nigeria is just a consequence, not the major reason for going to the world cup.

Until things change,


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