Jossy Lad, LMC and other stories …

By Paul Bassesy
It sounded comical.

That Jossy Lad, yes the same one, fell ill. That Oyo state government, had spent “four hundred thousand naira on him” without improvement.

That on this fateful day, his condition worsened and his son rushed him to hospital and he had to queue because there were no beds or something until a doctor who now recognized his son fast tracked his attention and eventual admission (I can imagine the number of people who had died on that queue not having doctors who knew their children or them).

Back to the story. The Sports Minister then visited and donated five hundred thousand naira, I believe from his pockets. Then another one hundred thousand naira donation this time from Dominic Iorfa ex international who was in Ibadan for a league match and found time to visit.

Rewind to Morroco, Marakech, 35th Ordinary General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the institution of a foundation, President Hayatou Foundation to cater for African footballers who had fallen into penury.

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That hundreds of footballers in the African continent who had brought joy to their countries and continent by their prolific achievements on the field of play were languishing in poverty and needed to be supported.

Back to Ibadan and the fate of Jossy Lad. Yes I hold the view that those players who spend their life earnings in ostentatious life styles should have only themselves to blame when football finally leaves them.

Footballers in their prime should benefit from counsellings that expose them to the need of saving for the rainy day. Footballers in their prime should be exposed to the benefits of investing their monies in worthwhile ventures that will sustain them when their playing carriers are cut short either by age or injuries.

Talking about those who earn mega bucks. I also know that there are those like Jossy Lad who held sway when money was not the prime factor in donning boots and jerseys. Even as a National team coach, what he took home could be considered peanuts. This is the man that fell ill and ironically peanuts became his due.

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There is a reason why God has kept Jossy Lad alive as I write, in a country where “thousands” pale into insignificance and budgets are made in trillions of naira. Jossy Lad has fallen ill in a country where politicians spend millions flying around the world checking their blood pressures!

It started with the OyoState government, that “……it had spent four hundred thousand naira so far…. Four hundred thousand naira? Can someone stop me from laughing? I believe that story is not true.

We know the history of IICC Shooting Stars , one that makes all the players of that team, past and present to be idols and role models adored and revered. The same can be said of Rangers of Enugu, Mighty Jets of Jos, Raccah Rovers of Kano…to name but a few.

That a state cannot hire a an air ambulance and fly out Jossy Lad for treatment abroad is a sad testimony of our national anthem even “the labours of our heroes past” Ah Jossy Lad made a mistake. He should have been born a governor, a senator, a president’s wife….. Instead he chose to be a footballer, a coach……

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If I am addressing the deaf, what about the Nigeria Football Federation and the National Sports Commission, who at least know what I am talking about? Who are in a better position to chronicle and appreciate the contributions and achievements of this great sports son of Nigeria?

God help Jossy Lad.

The dreams of the LMC

Sunday I was in Port Harcourt for one of Nigeria’s celebrated derbies, a clash between Sharks and Dolphins. For me this was an opportunity to witness first hand, efforts being made to bring back to life the moribund Premier league by the  Honourable  Nduka Irabor led League Management Committee ( LMC )

Yes LMC! I pleaded my ignorance until Mitchell Obi filed me in on its formation, activities and aspirations, only for me to receive that famous  letter to Nigerians entitled “ Revamping the Nigerian Professional Football League … line with the law and present day realities…”  signed by Hounourable Irabo himself.

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I recommend that piece to all lovers of Nigerian football and plead with the media to give it as much exposure as possible for its rich content.

This is a self explanatory submission that oozes with hope and promise of a better future for our domestic football. I have since spoken to honourable Irabor and all you will get from him is “…please let us come together to improve the game…” I am sure he said this more than six times in the course of our short conversation.

Some of the major components of that league include the Match Commissioners and referees. What I saw during the match commissioners seminar in Abuja where over 700 Nigerians came out struggling to be match commissioners called for concern, ditto the referees.

I remember mentioning this to the leadership of the NFF that for us to fall in line with the aspirations of the LMC, a drastic reduction must be made in the list of referees and match commissioners to reflect credibility, savvy and professionalism and one way of doing that is that henceforth, the Match Commissioners and Referees placement committees should, at the end of every month, spend at least three days in Abuja to thoroughly go through reports and performances to be able to weed and categorise match commissioners and referees. This, is non negotiable.

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Congrats  AFN, Delta.

Been following with delight the recent hosting of the track and field youths of Africa by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, courtesy the Governor Uduaghan led Delta State Government.

For one who has organized secondary schools athletics in AkwaIbomState for thirteen consecutive years facilitated by the NNPC-MPN Joint Venture I appreciate and commend this break through that has also helped to enrich our athletics infrastructure.

The future is definitely in our hands.

See you next week.


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