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A blast from the recent past: “2010 World Cup Series, 3/3 – hurrah to South Africa; hurray to artistry!” – Tola Adenle

July 12, 2014

Sports

2010 World Cup Series, 3/3: hurrah to South Africa; hurray to artistry!

“Worns sees red/ be4 team sees defeat/in the hands of Croatia/3-0 score /in Lyon Qrtrs ‘98”.  Four years later in South Korea, it was of Klose that I quipped: “Why do Germans always foul out?  Because they are technicians.” A yellowing half-page of the National Concord of July 23, 1998 with Worns in the usual pose of two hands on the head  and – he didn’t do anything – look of his teammate at the red card, AND another paper in ’02 showing Klose gazing at Collina’s red card explain above quip.

With the ballyhooing that preceded World Cup 2010 (2010), I was sure Germany or Holland would hoist the Cup. While we always all root for Brazil, I had a hunch neither she nor Spain despite being Europe winners would win; teams that have ambulances standing by for evacuation these days tend to win.  As for Argentina, I dismissed them on June 13 in “Of technicians, Messi, Venus …”with “Oh, did I mention that Messi may be an eel, alright, but the beefeaters aren’t going to hoist the cup.  A techie team will.  No, not the best-known techie of them all who, unfortunately, will have to fold the flags of St. George, perhaps, before even the knock-out stages.”

Not here to dampen spirits this day of rest but mention of Nigerian sports officials must remain on the front burner.  Pleasant info about 2010 later. Nigeria may have no policy to ferret young talents but sports administrators are passionate only about living large. Long before last week’s essay showed that Northerners dominate not only football but sports administration – I missed Alhaji Yar Adua-era’s Ibrahim Gimba as sports minister – John Lucas blogged: “Can someone help me if NFF elections governed by zoning/rotation. Which zone is its turn to produce the chairman…?” [NEXT, June 26]

Spending-mania in South Africa?  A National Daily report states: “The 87 people are made up of all the 37 Football Association chairmen in the 36 states and Abuja; 30 men and women whose roles in Nigeria football could not be immediately ascertained including two wives and four children of Lulu, the NFF President … the idea behind taking the chairmen… the current NFF board members will need the support of these states chairmen when the elections come up in August…to give legitimacy to the large entourage, they set up different committees and divided the 87 people … Protocol, Logistics, Medical, Media … Olajire, the PRO of the NFF did not go as a member of the media committee but that of medical… According to Lulu, ‘the World Cup gives us an opportunity to expose our people to big tournaments …it is good for them to come and learn … because we may decide to host it in the nearest future.”

A year ago, FIFA Under-17 officials budgeted N35 billion for which N9 billion was eventually found adequate.  N2.25b was advanced to the accounts of the football authorities after 2010 qualification. Whatever happened to FIFA’s $9m – $8million paid upfront for playing all three first round matches and $1m preparation?  National Daily reported this was in addition to N900million grant by government. Was the grant returned to government? Who says corruption at every level of governance has nothing to do with the Kidnapping Industry?

I felt for the kidnapped and freed journalists as I’ve done over many all over the country, including Lulu’s mother for whom N200 million, reduced to N150 is being demanded.  Kidnappings – while not justified – are spurred by the impunity that treasury looters get away with as Palladium wrote last Sunday.  Words do get around about the opulent lifestyles that salary earning governors, ministers, civil servants and their families enjoy mostly from ill-gotten wealth.  It does seem kidnapping is becoming the Nigerian variant of private angst leading to public violence a la the French Revolution.  With Onovo’s policemen more concerned with their uniform pants featuring many pockets being stuffed with proceeds of highway shakedowns than with keeping law and order, today’s kidnappers may soon move to society parties, churches … Eastern travelers are already experiencing hell.

I agree with Col. Mark of the Senate that the “situation has changed to a jungle environment” but wonder if he realizes that most Nigerians regard the Nigerian political environment – especially the Senate and the House – as a veritable jungle environment.  Doesn’t the political jungle where calls for state of emergency, etcetera are emanating from deserve same hard lines?  As I once wondered aloud here of retired General Obasanjo-era (rGO) Senators who recommended China-type one-party government for Nigeria: will Officer Mark want treasury looters executed as in China?

Thanks, South Africa for putting up a show that has set the standard for decades to come.  Everything went without noticeable hitches in, around and outside the glittering arenas, and you even managed to score the very first goal of 2010!

From my World Cup Notebook:  Okay, England was cheated out of a goal against Germany that could probably have changed the outcome. The disallowed 2nd goal was a travesty but Germany’s 3rd and 4th constitute disgrace to English football.  With Slovakia defeating fancied Italy, and Japan, Denmark, the de-mythification of European football as powerhouses was complete.  Here’s from Yankee Donovan after they defeated Slovenia: “… I’m so proud of our guys. Unbelievable; Clint made a good run in the middle, the ball fell to me … time kind of stopped. You can’t miss from there.”  Well, American MLS’ Landon Donovan, you should know Everton’s Aiyegbeni?  He did miss in front of goal; no defender in sight!

How about the unforgettable FIFA Kick-off Celebrations and Tutu’s electric appearance AND Angelique Kodjo; Hip-shaking Shakira in her little grass number; Sting; John Legend; Alicia Keys …  How about The Boot Dance, reminder of apartheid-era mines where workers were chained to their equipment?

A lot of the television broadcasts here, but especially overseas, fed the mind and soul.  ESPN had Hugh Masekela’s son, Sal of E News, Hollywood, present many off-beat reports.  When father and son visited a girls’ school, Hugh performed impromptu while Sal looked on in admiration, as if seeing his dad on the trumpet for the first time.  Later, to get his message in the most direct way across to the girls to focus on education, the old rascal said, “…if you love me, you will have sex …” an old classic male line that must have gotten the girls’ attention.  Hugh concluded: “sex is not going anywhere …” The girls cheered but it was Episode 6 of Sal’s diary that was most poignant: “UMLANDO, thru my father’s eyes.” Umlando – God’s window – is a spectacular other-worldly sight that is approached through several steps to the top from where you can see miles of virgin South African forestland and the ubiquitous mountains.  Father and son looked into each other’s eyes at one point and a Hugh deadpan was received by his son with a smile.   It went something like: during apartheid, blacks were not allowed here because we would have seen what we were missing.

The loss of Mandela’s great grandchild cast a pall but could not ruin South Africa’s coming-out party: yeah, we may physically be in the Third World and have some problems but we are not of here.  After watching Mandela’s triumphant ride around the arena on the closing day, I wrote: “how does Obasanjo  feel when he beholds the honors that keep coming Mandela’s way?  rGO got the same opportunity on a gold platter but chose political infamy and material wealth route.”

 

SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2014.  8:30 p.m. [GMT]

 

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