A colleague walked into the office with a broad smile on his face. I concluded quickly that he must have hit a ‘jack-pot’ somewhere.
COACHEE (Coach) I have heard the good news.
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What is the good news? I asked quickly as I was hoping for a soul and spirit lifting piece of news.
I’ve heard that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development has rescinded its earlier decision to withdraw Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for two years.
Oh! Yeah, that is true. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Isma’il A made the announcement at a press briefing.
This is really kind and thoughtful of this government. It means these people are beginning to develop listening ears. Whenever there is public outcry or a clarion call, any responsible government should listen and act accordingly.
I can’t agree less with you my brother. I think the government is turning a new leaf even if belatedly. It is better late than never.
It is necessary, my brother. Maybe we would get a little reprieve from the heavy yokes the government has imposed on the majority of us in the name of ‘nascent’ democracy.
This is true. We are all hoping for the best even as the President has less than a year to leave office. Moreover, he now appears stronger and more confident so I think he wants to finish the race with a splash.
He moved to leave but as if to double check, my colleague asked ‘Shebi our girls will reclaim their FIBA World Cup ticket from Mali’?
No, no, no, FIBA have said there is no going back. The D’Tigress’ are not going to be part of the party in Australia.
(He rushed back in astonishment) Please, please, even if it is a joke, stop it. We are in June and not April. This year’s April fool date has come and gone. Don’t fool me.
I am telling you the bitter truth. The D’Tigress are not going to the World Cup. We are even praying that FIBA shouldn’t capitalise on our self-inflicted ban to keep us out of their tournaments as punishment for rascality.
(So he yelled) These people are simply mad. Why then did they reverse themselves, if the D’Tigress weren’t going to be readmitted into the 2023 World Cup? Who asked them to take the decision that they have now rescinded? This is arrant nonsense.
Please calm down. God has a purpose for everything. He knows why this has happened to the girls. They are not destined to be there.
You see, this is one of our major problems. We are always quick to see our foolishness as an act of God. The God I serve is not God of confusion. These people are simply confused. They act before thinking. I still ask, why lift the ban when you know the girls won’t go to the World Cup? This is beautiful nonsense.
It is, indeed. Initially, we all thought by calling off the ban, the D’Tigress would go to the World Cup. So, when it dawned on us that they are effectively out, we all left the venue of the briefing feeling bitter and utterly disappointed.
Who is going to console the poor girls? Any hope they must have nursed that a change of heart by the government would revive their World Cup dreams must have evaporated. They will be inconsolable wherever they are right now.
I think the government should have considered all these before taking that rash decision. Some of us know what it takes to qualify for a world championship. It requires time, energy and other resources to reach that stage.
But didn’t the minister or whoever reversed know that doing so at this time is like locking the stable when the horse had bolted? Why didn’t the minister settle the NBBF crisis that they said triggered the ban?
To be fair to the minister, he did his best to resolve the lingering leadership crisis in the NBBF. Apart from holding several meetings with the aggrieved parties, he even set up a high powered committee to mediate in the crisis.
Are you sure his hands are clean? A leader who is tainted finds it extremely hard to settle even very simple cases. Such a compromised leader is usually tossed about by the same people who should be listening to you.
I know you are upset already so I don’t want to add salt to your injuries. If not, I would have said the minister isn’t entirely responsible for this big mess. A lot of people and issues are involved.
COACHEE, you can speak all the grammar you can think of but one thing I know is that Sunday Dare is the Minister of Sports and he is to be held responsible for this disaster.
Aren’t you being too hard on the minister? Like I said before, what has happened is sad and unfortunate but we shouldn’t allow our tears to cloud our sense of judgment.
My friend, shebi you said you don’t want to rub salt into my injuries. Stop playing the devil’s advocate. If I were in a position to decide his fate, I would have since booted him out of that office.
Do you know why I don’t want us to put the whole blame on the minister?
No, tell me. Maybe you know what the rest of us can’t discern. Unless there is a secret pact between you and the minister, I wonder why you are bent on defending him.
Okay, it appears you have made up your mind on who to blame for this mishap. However, are you aware that one of the leaders of the two factions in the NBBF crisis is a powerful figure in the Presidential Villa? By virtue of his closeness to power, don’t you think he could have incited the ban just to get at his rival? The other factional leader is also highly connected. He may also decide to flex muscles just to prove that he is not a lightweight contender for power. Honestly, the gladiators who refused to sheathe their swords are also responsible for this calamity. However, I am not in any way trying to exonerate the minister.
I weep for Nigerian sports. Most sports administrators are now self-serving. They put their personal interests over and above the good of the nation. See where the mad tussle for power has landed us. May God bless us with selfless leaders like our founding fathers who put Nigeria first in all their endeavours. But I still ask, where do we go from here?
For me, the final dummy is out so I have to rush to beat the production deadline. For you, I don’t know.