Nations Cup Begins Without Nigeria Again

Hello sports fans, it’s a pleasure for me to be back with this edition of my column.

The 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off as planned but Nigeria is not among the countries participating.

It happened not too long ago and this year again, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will not compete in the Cup of Nations. Waooo!

This is not just a shame but a bitter pill to swallow for the millions of football loving Nigerians. This is sad, it’s a huge loss to the country in terms of opportunities that would have been opened to many. It’s a loss to the present generation of players and their coaches.

And, what this tells us is that the days of using ‘mercenary’ in sports were over.

The Sports Ministry and NFF in Nigeria must know this, both bodies need a reform and the system has to be rebooted.

That Africa’s most populous country did not qualify for the biggest football competition on the continent calls for a sober reflection, and everyone must be concerned.

I believe this is not the time to apportion blames but the system need real change of strategies.

Honestly, Nigeria’s absence is a huge loss and it hurts. One can feel that the sand is bleeding due to our current situation and those of us in the diaspora are feeling the heat more.

It is high time our administrators dump the era of wishful thinking, which is an imaginary syndrome. No, it is not practical.

Sport is a practical stuff that needs collaboration. With every passing day, the age perimeter and performance of athletes becomes slimmer, and limited.

Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of appealing to evidence, rationality, or reality. It is a product of resolving conflicts between belief and desire.

Serious countries prepare their teams for tournaments and championships ahead of time, athletes consolidate by shaping up as in troops because every blissful performance resonates around the world. Such produces a seed that germinates to the next event and it goes on and on like that to the next generation.

It is actually a pride to the nation when her team makes an appreciable impact in international competitions.

The idea of fire brigade approach and poor preparation by the authorities in Nigeria should. stop. Instead of the fire brigade approach, there is need to invest in proper preparation.

Instead of using mercenary or trying to cut corners, our people must invest in grassroots programme and discover raw talents, re-structure and enhance the development of sports.

It’s time to face realities, it’s time to be optimistic and build a better environment for the athletes. Remember, these athletes function with time, space and opportunity that come their way. But, when these three key factors are destroyed, there won’t be any seed to nurture for the next generation, so the future looks bleak without planning.

You never change things by eroding the existing reality. To change something, one needs to build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

The barrier during self-improvement is not so much that we hate learning, rather we hate being taught.

To learn entails that the knowledge was achieved on one’s own accord – it feels great – but to be taught often leaves a feeling of inferiority. Thus it takes a bit of determination and a lot of humility in order for one to be fully developed.

Hope you enjoy this brief piece, join me again in as the next edition of my column is on the way.

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Please, do send your reactions to
Peter Ijeh,
ULc, BSs.

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