Sports

Shambolic domestic football and the new European season

The calendar imbalance in Nigeria’s domestic football is set to rear its ugly head again. Football fans are still lamenting over how Ghana eliminated Nigeria from the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup but now, the home-based Eagles have been drawn to play Ghana again in the CHAN competition organised for home-based senior national teams across the continent.

This is a tough one because unlike Nigeria, the Ghanaian team has been in camp for close two months because the country’s league has been on break like that of other countries in Europe. The fixture is billed for the weekend of August 26 to 28 but the home Eagles are not yet in camp and the league only ended about three weeks ago. The Federation Cup that should have been integrated into the football season is just getting into full swing across the country. It’s a shame that the competition which has Aiteo as its sponsors is in the round of 16 but the winners of the last edition in the male and female cadres are yet to collect their prize monies. Aiteo should be asking the NFF questions because such should be not be happening when there is a title sponsor.

Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have cried out asking for their 2021 money to be paid. This is too bad. Domestic league is not inspiring with good welfare and problem of sponsorship still prevalent as the league is not on television. Only recently, Ghana announced a sponsorship deal of six million dollars for their domestic league and that is enough to show that the NFF is bereft of ideas because the administration of the game is not about bragging but about taking the right decisions to develop the game. Raising a solid team for the CHAN competition is a tough task. Even if the home Eagles manage to beat Ghana, they might not be strong enough to do well in the CHAN finals. It hurts that the administrators of the game make the same mistakes to drag our football into disrepute with bad results. Serious countries are warming up for new season now just as the European season is already upon us with interesting transfers. Erling Halaand’s move to Manchester City in the EPL is a big one that could make the Citizens clinch the league again.

Gabriel Jesus also switched to Arsenal from City just as Antonio Rudiger moved to the La Liga to join Real Madrid from Chelsea. The Blues secured the services of Senegalese captain Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli just as Bayern signed Sadio Mane from Liverpool while Barca also strengthened their attack with the acquisition of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich. For Nigerian stars Joe Aribo moved from Rangers to Sunderland and Taiwo Awoniyi moved from Hertha Berlin to Nottingham Forest, a newly promoted EPL outfit. Calvin Bassey also moved from Rangers to Ajax while Ademola Lookman also joined Serie A side Atlanta from RB Leipzig.

It must be stressed that Eagles stars are not always in focus during transfers if not, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Paul Onuachu of Genk should have secured better deals. There is also Wilfred Ndidi who has remained with Leicester City over the years despite his brilliance in the middle of the pack.

As the new season gets underway, top stars like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze Oghenekaro Etebo together with new lads Ademola Lookman and Emmanuel Dennis must double their efforts to make impact. Lookman should hit the ground running in Atalanta while Dennis should get himself another club since Watford has been relegated. Same goes for defender William Troost-Ekong. The players need not only good agents also a solid team professionals to manage their respective careers like that of their colleagues abroad.

An exciting season is anticipated because we are in a run-in to the World Cup but it will be more pleasant to have Nigerian stars excel for their teams like Egypt’s Muhamed Salah is doing with Liverpool and Sadio Mane about to do for Bayern. We need Eagles to play leadership roles in top clubs across the world and to do this they can ask questions on how their colleagues abroad set up a management team to handle their affairs in various aspects of the job and beyond.

 

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