MORE THAN JUST AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN: AFN BOSS STANDS TALL

As I started this blog a year ago, I made it clear that I would write without fear or favour and would at all times maintain that issues here are strictly mine and mine alone. I do have a right to my opinion and the will guard that right jealously. However, I owe it a civic responsibility to make sure that stories  that I publish (whether sourced from me or not) are factual and balanced. It is on this note that I reviewed some stories I had earlier published on the AFN abuse of power and decided there should be a balanced report and facts be put out.

Nesiama: Excelling in Sports and the Military

Nesiama: Excelling in Sports and the Military

After reviewing the story and making some personal investigations, I have decided that this one in particular  needs to be clarified. The AFN technical director, Omotseye Nesiama is indeed a bonafide athlete’s representative.

My investigations and contacts in Monaco actually reveal that Nesiama was qualified and licensed by the IAAF as an Athletes Representative after passing the prescribed exams on first attempt with distinction on 7th Dec 13. He scored 46 out of 48 in the IAAF supervised examination held in London. He thus successfully concluded rather circumventing any of the process. He got an IAAF congratulations for the feat achieved. This actually made him the first Nigerian that has qualified through this newly introduced process in one attempt. We do have other recognized Nigerian athlete’s representatives like Olapade Adenikan in the IAAF records.

 

Nesiama was commended recently by the Sports Minister for this and this was appropriately conveyed to his military constituency accordingly.

 

On getting this information, I put in call to the AFN technical director and he clarified to me that one of the reasons for going into management of Athletes is to better guide our athletes in their professional career and protect them from those Shylock managers lurking around our unsuspecting athletes.

Guardian: Hoping to protect athletes from shylock managers

Guardian: Hoping to protect athletes from shylock managers

This I personally think is a good idea and we should applaud and encourage him for that. I should point out here that the license of an Athletes’ Representative is like any other professional license like that of the pharmacist whose license is required to set up a Pharmacy.

I also put issues of blackmail of athletes to sign with him and the issues of conflict of interest in running the affairs of the federation.

He assured me that there is no conflict as he has not even fully started operations yet but the few they were beginning negotiation with were from Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, and the USA. Some Nigerians would come on board but for now there were no deals yet. He denied using his position to blackmail or force any athlete to signing. He was very clear that nobody or Representative firm can force or threaten any athlete to signing. It would be nice to name or hear from any of the athletes that have been contracted by this group that complains of being short-changed or monies collected against their wishes. The IAAF even has clauses contained in the Athletes Representatives Regulations to deal with such unethical issues that anyone could cite to seek redress. It is when such comes to the fore, then we can engage in our criticisms.

While I would be the first to accept an error in publication and tender my unreserved apology, I insist my reports are done objectively in the interest of the sports and not to disparage our sports administrators for no just cause.

Well personally I don’t think it is out of place for Nigerians to dare into other novel areas that would help to make the management of track and field and indeed athletes in Nigeria better and more competitive.  I do believe that there would not be double standard and this would be a venture where Nigerians would stand tall and be proud once more. My visit to Jamaica a year ago revealed that when everything is home grown, success would be guaranteed. It’s the Jamaican way and so we should try that. The Jamaican have home grown managers, clubs, athletes and coaches. While the naval officer has made big strong positive strides in getting Nigeria to have our own IAAF recognized home grown manager, it comes at a time where the AFN are now employing foreign coaches, advisers and even…athletes.

 

 

Amaju’s NFF Foreign coach Call: Misplaced Priority

Do we need a 'foreign' NFF to get it right?

Do we need a ‘foreign’ NFF to get it right?

 

It has been barely three weeks since Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission took over the helms of affairs of the Nigerian Football Federation and all the chorus that he has sang has been the employment of a foreign coach.

I have a few issues with this.

1. He makes it sound that no matter who it is, as long as he is foreign, he is good enough for us.

2. He questions the qualification and competence of  Nigerian coaches.

3. Does he not also think we need a foreign NFF  President?

4. He is going a route that does not even speak of development of our league, football and the sport.

5. He seems to say that all our gains in the last five years with Siasia and Keshi is wasted.

So sad that he has alluded to the fac t that a coach has already been employed to take care of the Eagles for the next one year….hmm..in one year..what would be the gains? If the Eagles do not make it to the Nations cup in January..that means the coach would be in charge for less than 8 games…at what cost Mr. Amaju Pinnick?

Keshi’s Sack….Wither Nigeria

 

No more tears....Keshi wipes out the pain of coaching the Super Eagles

No more tears….Keshi wipes out the pain of coaching the Super Eagles

The sack of Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has come with mixed reactions. Some believe it was long overdue and some question the timing. Football Analyst Dudu Orumen who has been a big critique of the Delta State born coach was against the timing of the sack….”It leaves room for whats and what ifs…” He believe Keshi should have been left to swim or sink before the decision was made. As it is now ..it is safe for Keshi..if Eagles dont qualify…he would say if he had remained in charge they would have…if the qualify..he would say..the same.

 

NFF..over to you…You say you want foreign coach…If no be Mourihno…we no go gree o.

EBOLA: Olympic Charter Questioned as China Bars Nigeria from Youth Games.

Ebola threatens Nigeria's future champions

Ebola threatens Nigeria’s future champions

 

The Spirit of the Olympics is being tested in faraway Nanjin china as the Chinese Government has openly shown discrimination against Nigeria.

Nigerian athletes who are in China for the Youth Olympics have been quarantined and barred from training over the outbreak of the Ebola virus back home.
The Chinese Government, a statement by the National Sports Commission said, has prevented the athletes from training as other countries’ athletes have been doing since arrival.

This is unacceptable and totally against the Olympic spirit.

In a statement signed Wednesday by the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye Nigeria protested to the organisers that the treatment to the Nigerian athletes were inhuman.

The Youth Olympics is scheduled to hold in Nanjing, China from August 16 to August 18. And Team Nigeria were to participate in three sports – Athletics, Wrestling and Beach Vollleyball, with twelve athletes.

The Government has since decided to withdraw the team from the Games.

The vanguard newspaper reports that The decision to withdraw Team Nigeria from the Games was taken after a meeting with Sports Minister, Dr Tammy Danagogo, Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, President, Engr Sani M. Ndanusa and the Director General of the National sports Commission, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye.
Though the officials have not reacted to Nigeria’s withdrawal of her athletes, the discrimination and subsequent quarantine of the athletes is not unconnected to the Ebola virus that is ravaging part of West Africa.
The athletes and their officials have been directed to leave China and head home.

It is so sad because the Chinese have always been welcomed in Nigeria for Business and leisure even in the height of when they had the bird flu epidemic.

Nigerian Athletes were Neglected in America-Ogunode

Femi Ogunode, winning Gold for Qatar at the Asian Games.

Femi Ogunode, winning Gold for Qatar at the Asian Games.

 

Former Nigerian Youth athlete and now Qatari National Champion and Asian record holder in the 200m, Femi Ogunode says Nigerian athletes were treated badly and neglected while in training in the USA towards the preparation for the commonwealth Games earlier this year.

Speaking passionately when he came for the Diamond League in Lausanne, he revealed to me what some athletes had told him when they had met during the Penn relays in America.

‘ They were sad and complained that they had no money.’ He revealed. ‘ I had to personally give them money to eat. It was embarrassing. These were my colleagues, some my seniors when I was in Nigeria. They begged me for money and food. They had lots of complaints. I think they should be treated well. They are afraid to talk. No one listens to them.’

Femi, who spoke happily and gleefully about how he is being treated in Qatar. This news is coming just as reports in Nigeria reveals that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria ran a slave camp in USA.

‘I am like a king. I am given all i need to train. I am looked after well. My family is with me too and they were given jobs.’

The father of one revealed that he left Nigeria after they were dropped from the Junior team despite qualifying for the major competition.

‘We were all sad. The members of the 4 x 400m relay team, we were dropped from the selection and were not even paid. We were told we were not good enough. It was sad. So when the opportunity came, I took it happily. I love Nigeria but needed to take care of myself and my future, that is why I refused to change my name even when I was told by the Qatari authorities. I said I wanted my identity to remain..I will never change my name or renounce my country.’

Having a chat with Femi just before his race at the Diamond League in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Having a chat with Femi just before his race at the Diamond League in Lausanne, Switzerland.

While the Athletics Federation of Nigeria have gone around shopping for non Nigerian athletes past their prime in the USA, Qatar seems to be getting the best of our young talents. Femi Ogunode is joined in Qatar by his younger brother Tosin, and also Samuel Francis. As a matter of fact the trio formed a relay team with ‘a very young Qatari boy who runs 11 seconds in the 100m’, as Femi put it, and they defeated Nigeria’s national 4x 100m relay team in the Penn Relays earlier this year.

It should be recalled that Nigeria’s male 4 x 100m team have failed to even qualify for the last three major championships as they have been unable to run qualifying times. While Femi was Number 10 in the indoor world ranking this year with 6,51 seconds  in the 60m, and his younger brother was world number 8 with 6.50 seconds.

 

 

‘Pep’ up Champions: Guardiorla Grooms Germany

Champios Germany      PHOTO: BBC Sports

Champios Germany PHOTO: BBC Sports

 

Yeah…Germany are the world cup champions but also Spain were four years ago. So whats the news?
Six of the players that won for Spain four years ago came from Barcelona- Coached by Pep Guardiorla.
Six of these players that won for Germany came from Bayern Munich…Yes you got it …Coached by Pep Guardiola. So the recipe to win the World cup is simple…get six of your players from Pep Guardiola’s team.

Olympic Gold Medallist elected London Councillor

Fidelis Gadzama....What next?

Fidelis Gadzama….What next?

Sydney 2000 Olympics heats: L-R Udo-Obong, Gadzama,Awazie and Chukwu

Sydney 2000 Olympics heats: L-R Udo-Obong, Gadzama,Awazie and Chukwu

Nigeria’s  Fidelis Tafida Gadzama has been elected into the local council in Merton near London. He was elected  in May during the British General elections under the Labour party. He will be representing the Canon Hill Ward. So far his new post has seen him record 100% attendance in meetings and he has been appointed into the Children and Young People Overview and scrutiny Panel Committee.

Team of 2000: L-R Enee udo-Obong,Jude Monye, wife of Sunday Bada, Nduka Awazie, Clement Chukwu and Fidelis Gadzama awaiting the reception by the Government of Nigeria in their honour.

Team of 2000: L-R Enee udo-Obong,Jude Monye, wife of Sunday Bada, Nduka Awazie, Clement Chukwu and Fidelis Gadzama awaiting the reception by the Government of Nigeria in their honour.

Fidelis Gadzama had a distinguished career as an an athlete in Nigeria winning the African Junior championships in 1997 in 400m. He was a member of the Nigerian Team to the World Championships in Seville and The All African Games in South Africa. His biggest success came when he helped the Nigerian Team to win Gold at the Sydney Olympics. For this he was rewarded by the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan and also honoured in his council in London where  he  told the Wimbledon Guardian “It was an amazing feeling. We fought for it for a long time.”One of the team tested positive but they were still defiant.”But when Michael Johnson handed over his own medal that is when we knew that it was inevitable and that our medals would be given.”It was my first Olympics and was very happy to be part of it.”

Fidelis Gadzama with Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council.

Fidelis Gadzama with Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council.

In the original race Jamaica finished third and the Bahamas fourth.

Mr Fidelis added: “I was honoured to collect my gold medal from the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, in a wonderful ceremony with my other colleagues in the 400m relay squad.”It means a lot to me and to my family “I now want to use my links in the world of athletics to help others to take up sporting activities in Merton.”

Gadzama, who  has been a critic of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, in which he is a board member is now said to be vying for election in Nigeria as the Governor of Kaduna State. We will keep you posted.

Commonwealth Games: How we gunned down our Sporting Hero.

 

Nigeria's and Black Africa's First commonwealth Gold Medalist. His life suddenly cut short.

Nigeria’s and Black Africa’s First commonwealth Gold Medalist. His life suddenly cut short.

 

Many may not know or even have heard of him….but Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna deserves a Nigerian national honour. He was the first black African to win a gold medal. Sadly he was shot publicly by the General Ojukwu led Biafran army while trying to prevent a war which cost Nigerians two million of its citizens. As the Commonwealth games draws closer, the British broadsheet, the Guardian, carries his story. Click here to read how the life of the pride of Black Africa was sadly ended.

Bienvenido! Sanchez is a Gunner.

Sanchez; Biggest transfer into the EPL this summer so far

Sanchez; Biggest transfer into the EPL this summer so far

Chile international striker Alexis Sanchez has signed for Arsenal from Barcelona on a long-term contract for in the region of £35million. This is a fantastic coup by Arsenal on Liverpool who tried to use Suarez as a bargaining chip for the Chilean. However, Arsene Wenger’s meeting with the player in Brazil is said to have sealed the deal for the FA cup champions. See some of Sanchez’ highlighs below.