Monday, October 18, 2010

Notes on Nigerian Football Scandals & the Amazing Falconets

Dr. Amos Amadu
Today Naija Football 247 reposted a Sahara Reporters story about journalist Olukayode Thomas's struggle with the Nigerial football/sporting executive Amos Adamu (FIFA and CAF executive board member). "How a David Defeated Goliath in a Nigerian Court" is well worth reading, as is a more recent story on the same site about the place of that scandal in FIFA's delay of the 2018 World Cup bid ("Nigeria's Amos Adamu Offers to Sell FIFA Hosting Rights for 500,000").

As most sports sections report on the corruption in the Nigerian football association, few seem to notice that in the midst of this story, Nigeria's U20 women's squad became the first African team to play in a World Cup championship final match. After beating the always strong Japan at the group stage, and knocking out the U.S. in the quarter finals (highlights of Nigeria's defeat of the US), the Falconets took down Columbia (another great story of the tournament) to reach the championship match. There, they lost (as so many do) to Germany 2-0 (highlights of that game here).

The story of Thomas's fight with Adamu (who has sued the Guardian journalist for libel) provides an interesting context for understanding the administrative chaos that surrounds the sport in Nigeria.
Nigeria's 2010 U20 Women's Squad, "The Falconets"
It is hard to imagine how the women's program survives at all - and they don't just survive. This summer, they played very smart football - the kind of well-organized, conservative game associated with perrenial powerhouses like the U.S. and Germany. Nigeria's women's teams are always stacked with talent and play well against much more well-funded and administratively stable sides.

And the more I read about what's going on in Nigeria's sporting community, the more I want to know about these players, and the men and women who support them. These are the unheralded superstars of the sport - for they do this with no hope of riches and international fame.

(And sorry for disappearing - am finishing a non-football related project!)


  1. Correction - "Nigeria's WOMEN's teams are always stacked with talent and play well against much more well-funded and administratively stable U20 sides."


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