My NPFL Sunday Afternoon Experience By Jide Olaniran
On a sunny Sunday afternoon (no pun intended) I found myself in a rare situation- watching football with my wife and it was not the Manchester United she supports when she is in her feel good mood to watch the round leather game, it was the week 12 oriental derby between Rangers International FC and Enyimba FC.
As expected it was time to quiz her husband on every observation made in the course of the game, her thought is that her sports journalist better half should have answers to all her questions from the ridiculous to the germane.
Anyway, some of her queries were the same posers like- why is the stadium so scanty even when two big clubs like Rangers and Enyimba are involved, worse still is the way the Nigeria Television Authority crew that was transmitting the game kept highlighting the empty stadium, by the way she would like to know why the largest network in Africa does not show a replay during a football game transmission.
A quick reminder that we are 12 weeks into the season and no noticeable improvement yet in the television coverage of our premium football product, we are still waiting for the physical manifestation of the much talked about collaboration between the NTA and that foreign company? Until then our television coverage of the professional league is just another past time or CSR of the NTA.
Back to the oriental derby ,my wife and I noticed that the second half had more spectators which means that football fans in Enugu where the game was played do go late to games at some point one of the commentators Jane Onyi who is resident in the city of Enugu made allusion to our observation.
So we have seen late coming as a fall out of the apathy an average Nigerian football fan has for the domestic league, why am I surprise when a club in the south -south suspended her coach for coming late to the stadium on a game day.
Another observation is that Super Eagles goal keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was not in goal for his side Enyimba FC in a match that was touted as the game of the week, it was Ghana import Fatau Dauda who manned the post for the Aba side, Ezenwa who was spotted during the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in Abuja some days before the Sunday game appears to be preoccupied with the summer slam, what remains inexplicable is that in less than a hundred days to the soccer showpiece two of Nigeria’s Russia 2018 bound Goal keepers, Ezenwa and Uzoho are not starters in their clubs, that should raise some concerns about Nigeria’s semifinal target at the mundial.
As we ruminate on that, lets spare some thought for Coach John Sam Obuh who has just been sacked by Kwara united management, and Rumson Madu of Heartland FC is walking the tight rope. While Kwara United forced El Kanemi Warriors to a 1-1 draw in Ilorin, according to report John Obuh has a three match ultimatum to deliver favourable results or his good work of earning a promotion ticket for the Afonja Warriors from the second tier league will be history soon but Rumson Madu’s woes appear to be compounded with MFM bashing of Heartland FC by three goals to nil at the Agege stadium in Lagos.
The humiliation was complemented by an out of sort post -match response by Rumson Madu who appears to have thrown his hands in the air in total surrender . “My Players didn’t play for me and they did not play for Heartland FC, my enemies have penetrated into my players to play against me “. We wait for Madu’s employers to react to his words on marble.