*Don’t you think you owe Nigerians an apology?
From Aderonke Bello
It was a gut-wrenching Thursday night for devoted football fans in Nigeria – the match between Senegal and Nigeria’s Super Eagles played in far away England without a single live broadcast.
Thousands of Nigerians moved from their homes to viewing centres around the country, to catch a glimpse of the football match but to no avail. The NFF had asked Nigerians to go and watch online via a provided link. Shamefully, the match that ended up a draw in front of a disappointing crowd. It was played at English Football League Two football club, Barnet’s ‘Hive Stadium’.
A case of neglect? Many die-hard fans bought the stipulated N500 ticket to watch the match but end up downtrodden as it was not shown eventually. The company that was scheduled to stream live the match later apologised with promises of a refund of the N500 paid without any offer of compensation.
The money, of course, is not an issue considering the depth of love and patriotism of Nigerian fans who would have loved to watch their beloved super eagles play.
It is also a failure on the part of the NFF to schedule a football match without concrete arrangement to have it shown on mainstream TV, we are talking about our Super Eagles here. It is totally unacceptable, the NFF should be ashamed of this neglect of our passionate fans – it must not happen again.
A case for black armband: The Nigerian Football Federation had earlier tweeted that players would wear black armbands to play in England in the wake of the Westminster terrorist attack (May the soul of the departed RIP).
Regrettably, the football federation has never neither compelled nor urged the Super Eagles to wear black armbands to honour the victims of insurgency, not even the fallen soldiers in Nigeria. Not even a thought of it.
I recall opining not long ago to the NFF about the importance of respect, using the power and the strength of football in uniting the nation when top soldiers fall in battle, shortly before the Algeria/Nigeria match, late last year in Uyo, which unfortunately, fell on deaf ears.
Is the NFF still broke? So many questions were on the lips of Nigerians who feel the match should have been shown live. And, of course, with no doubt, the Uyo township stadium would have undoubtedly been filled to the rafters. The glee on the faces of almost all the NFF board members, laughing away in the UK, with no expense spared hotel accommodations when they claim to be broke, truly hankers beggars’ belief.
CAF and continental engagements and recognition seem to be the major focus and interest of our leaders, than the feeling of Nigerians. Of the feeling of the people who elected them into office in the first place. How on earth would you take a Nigerian friendly to England? And to add salt to injury by not ensuring that the match was shown live on TV?
On this one, the NFF has failed woefully and they owe all the over 170million Nigerians an apology.