Last week, the Cinderella story of the Asabatex’s return to Nigeria’s soccer came to an end before an agitated crowd at the Stephen Keshi Stadium. The game was openly stolen, and victory went to Delta State’s top team, the Delta Force FC. As a pioneer part-founder of the Delta Force FC and a kin supporter of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s spirited sports development, I call on the refrees’ association, the SWAN, and the sports-loving governor to play back the video of the match and go forward and investigate that daylight robbery.
For the sake of the game, resist the corruption of political soccer managers who have no place in modern sports development and demand a replay of Asabatex versus Delta Force, and Warri Wolves versus J. Atete FC.
Your Excelency, it may interest you to note that at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, hosting the FA semi-finals experienced for the first time since the Challenge Cup started in the 1940s, we witnessed the unleashing of four red cards and three penalty kicks awarded to the government-pampared and sponsored sides of Delta Force FC and Warri Wolves against these other struggling young sides, breeding young stars from the grassroots all over Delta!
Asabatex indeed has the tournament’s highest scoring player in the name of Egbo Othuke, with more than nine goals. He is a graduate of DELSU Abraka. Our goalkeeper is Pibowei Amabetari and has the record of the least goals conceded. With the greatest responsibility, I started this open letter to you by reproducing another one I wrote to the former governor as the Washington DC/North American correspondent of the Vanguard Group in my column of last week. The thunder-struck governor immediately appointed me into his cabinet and wanted me to return home ASAP. Thanking him for his appointment, I politely turned down his offer, praying the governor to address the issues I raised in that Vanguard newspaper.
Those were the main issues we published last week and those issues, Sir, are still not addressed, otherwise Asabatex FC wouldn’t have lost a match that was already by half-time clearly moving to them and the crowd saw they had the initiative. They lost because the outcome was decided long before the opening whistle.
Sir, you’ll be losing a lot of your popular supporters all over the state and all over Nigeria, if you don’t investigate this stage-managed FA finals. Like the soon to be falling Governors of Rome, these your politicans who now run our sports, after their day of infamy at Stephen Keshi’s pitch, have without any apologies gone after the star Asabatex players enticing and without any shame unlawfully luring them to abandon Asabatex and join the ‘Governor’s Team.”
Your Excellency, I thought we are all your team and we play to win or lose to the glory of the Game. We will continue to pray that Delta (the home of football) will never see the type offFootball we saw last week when your managers decided the semi-final matches just like the Nigerian political parties decide the outcome of elections.
What the people say…
Emma, Thompson Usiyen joined Eagles late 1975, played Nation’s Cup in Ethiopia ’76 and was set for Montreal ’76 Olympics before Nigeria’s withdrawal. Did not appear for the 1977 re-invitation you mentioned, hence John Nwadioha, an attacking midfielder of the earlier Vasco fame and Eagles of ’74/75 was invited from retirement where he was on training at P&T Oshodi to fill in No. 9 striking position for the rest of the World Cup/Nation’s Cup qualifers in 1977. An off-form Usiyan surfaced in the Algiers All-Africa Games of early 1978. That was his last.
- Emma Okocha