How Not To Be A Giant -By Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde

Filed under: National Issues |

For the second time in a row Mohamed Salah won for himself and the Egyptian nation the African footballer of the year award. This award came off a series of stellar performances for both club and country by the Egyptian. 

The last time a Nigerian won this award was in 1999, the last time a Nigerian was part of the final three nominees was in 2013, Nineteen and Six years ago respectively. At the glittering event hosted by Senegal, it is instructive to note that we did not even win the women best player of the year award which was almost turning into our birth right, it went to South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana following Nigeria’s uninspired triumph at the African women cup of nations.

One cannot but wonder how every events and situations has contrived to become a metaphor to explain Nigeria’s backwardness. Our almost unending hiatus at the zenith of African football is not neutral, it’s not a stand alone symptom neither is it an isolated event rather it’s a reflection of how deep Nigerian has sunk into an abyss.

Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde

The pathetic part is that the solution to our  myriad of problems seem so far into a distant future, as I write no Nigerian football player seem good enough for the African best player award even in the next five years.

Every time pundits talk about our 1994 team as our best, I listen often time with heavy heart and teary eyes, because I ask myself “How can a nation who claim to be the giant of Africa, has her best team in the 19th century?” yet we hardly know. 

The  future seem so bleak as Nigeria’s politicians still include in their campaign rhetorics mundane necessities of life as peak campaign promises, the rest of Africa has left us while a larger part of our own nation’s youth demography pounces on women’s pants and betting as  money making tools, yet somewhere in Abúlé Ègbá Nigerians are arrogantly stereotyping the rest of Africa saying ” Ìyen Ethiopia àti Kenya nlele nbeyen” keep up the stereotype and the arrogance and watch your gigantic title remain a lame title as the real leaders would emerge through action and not in name.

Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde is a prolific writer and a public speaker based in Lagos.

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