Once again, Defending Champions, Nigeria failed to qualify for a Nations Cup tournament scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea come 2015, after they were held to 2-2 draw by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the last AFCON Game decided last week Wednesday. It was a similar situation in 2011 when Nigeria needed a victory in a bid to qualify but ended up in a draw against Guinea at the Abuja National Stadium under the tutelage of Samson Siasia.
When this years’ edition of African Club Basketball Championship gets underway in Tunisia for both Men and Women categories, Nigerian representatives including Mark Mentors and Kano Pillars who have already qualified to fly the country’s flag, will be hoping to surpass previous records by any Nigerian team at the tournament since its inception in 1972.Also known as FIBA African Clubs Champions Cup, the annual competition is the highest caliber professional basketball championship for clubs, organized by the FIBA Africa and played by the champions of the leagues of the African countries.
With two matches to go in the ongoing Nations Cup qualifying series ahead of 2015 continental showpiece, Africa’s big guns including Nigeria’s Super Eagles are still engulfed in deep permutations over the possibility of securing AFCON place. As it stands, continental Power Houses like Egypt, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Angola, Senegal among others are yet to guarantee their tickets to next years’ soccer competition in yet to be decided venue.
After reigning African Champions, Super Falcons reclaimed African Women Championship, AWC, title in Namibia, attention has now moved to Canada, venue of 2015 Women World Cup where no fewer than 24 teams are expected to compete in the quadrennial soccer fiesta. The reclaimed title slipped off their hands in 2008 and 2012 ever since the Women Championship was introduced 22 years ago.
Year after year, stakeholders have continued to cry foul over the collapse of sporting activities occasioned by few and in many places no sporting facilities located within the various government and privately-owned primary and secondary schools.
School children only find sporting solace only in schools built decades ago. Most modern schools established in recent times especially in different communities across the country have relegated sports viewed as an integral part of a Child’s education to the background.
As another Olympic year draws near, sports enthusiasts have identified swimming as the abode of medals which Nigeria has not adequately deplored her potentials to enhance her overall medals in any international sports competition. Nigeria has not won any medal in swimming before despite the fact that the country is surrounded by waters. They are therefore, calling for action in this regard though less than two years to the next Olympic scheduled for 2016.
The intrigues that heralded last week’s election of Board members into the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, might have been over but those who had followed happenings within Nigeria’s football a few months ago certainly have different tales to tell. Since the days of former NFF President Ibrahim Galadima in 2006 till present times, those who lay claims to the Glasshouse have never gotten to their ambitious positions the normal way. Instead, there have always been series of infighting and dirty power play occasioned by selfish aggrandizement.
Football lovers still wonder why Head Coach of Super Eagles Stephen Keshi whose supposed contract expired when 2014 World Cup ended in July is still facing uncertainties despite the fact that the Delta State-born tactician is still holding sway under interim arrangement.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s decision to seek re- election has continued to generate ripples within the global soccer fraternity and there are insinuations that the football chief severally accused of corruption want to cover up his traces before retiring. Amidst several financial and maladministration allegations which have enveloped FIFA under the present administration, Blatter recently made U-turn to stand for another election insisting that his mission at Zurich remains unfilled.
From all indications the embattled President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Aminu Maigari is believed to be thriving with the sponsorship money meant for the federation he allegedly diverted and said to be throwing around to sustain the current crisis in the federation.