Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Ferguson - Eating One's Humble Pie - Sport Guard

opinion

The late Reggae crooner, Lucky Dube in one of his songs said, "If you don't have any good thing to say about somebody, just shut up because the thing you say may come back to hurt you".

Dube was right as Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson has found out after his 'noisy neighbours', Manchester City denied him of the 2011/2012 Premiership title last Sunday.

In 2009 after Argentine striker, Carlos Tevez, left the Red Devils for Manchester City, Alex Ferguson was reportedly asked whether he thinks his team, Man Utd will ever play second fiddle to city rivals, Man City and his reply was caustic. "Not in my life time", he had said.

After the nerve wrecking 3-2 victory over QPR which handed Roberto Mancini's team their first title since 1968, ecstatic City fans who poured unto the pitch to celebrate carried a banner with the inscription 'Not in my life time' to mock Ferguson over his remarks in 2009. It was the continuation of mockery for the Man U manager, that controversial Tevez also carried a placard with the inscription 'R.I.P. Ferguson'. Yes, Man City management apologised to Ferguson and Man Utd over the issue but would anyone blame Tevez? Ferguson told the world that Man City would become league champions over his dead body and Tevez assumed he was dead after the Sunday victory.

Man City did not leave anyone in doubt that this was their year to lift the trophy. They were ruthless from the blast of the whistle signaling the start of the season in August last year, pounding teams with wide score margins including the 6-1 thrashing of Man Utd at their revered Old Trafford ground.

After they lost their first match 1-2 to struggling Chelsea at Stamford Bridge just before the Christmas break in December, Man City began to drop vital points in matches against supposedly weak opponents and before their fans could say City, the Red Devils had overtaken them.

With eight points gap, Mancini gave up on ever catching up with his rival, however, hoping that a win in the Derby at their Etihad Stadium home could help them revive their title dream. It so happened on April 30, that was also after Everton helped them chop off two points from Man Utd in their 4-4 draw at Old Trafford and they, City, had a 2-0 away victory over Wolves a week earlier. Fate would have been cruel to City if QPR had beaten them in that last match and Man Utd had gone ahead to retain the title because the Blue side of Manchester did better in the season to be crowned champions.

They never lost any game at home and drew just one as against United who lost and drew two home matches respectively.

Except for a mischievous Man Utd fan, no one will not agree that City deserve their victory and should celebrate it even till they lose or retain it next season. Ferguson was a bad loser in the end when he said that despite their victory, Man City would need about a 100 years to match his side. That was cheeky and undeserving of a Sir of Ferguson's calibre.

NFF must apologise to Amiesimaka

Adokie Amiesimaka is one man who never calls a spade by any other name than a spade. Many of the impostors running our football and their cohorts feel he should see evil and speak nothing about it. They have called him several names from disgruntled, unpatriotic to a jealous critic who never sees anything good in Nigerian football.

Amiesimaka was a school boy(University undergraduate) player for the Green Eagles who went to win the country's first Nations Cup on home soil in Lagos in 1980. Since after he retired from the national team, he has continuously preached against the use of over aged players in the junior teams, stressing that the practice was injurious to the country's football. But what did he get, abuses from the football administrators.

At last what Amiesimaka has been stressing has come out from one of the participants, Victor Ikpeba, an ex Eagles like the former chairman of Sharks FC. According to Ikpeba, who incidentally is in one of the NFF's committees, Nigeria has been fielding over aged players in junior competitions and it is now taking its toll on her football development. He has not said he was misquoted since it was published.

Ikepba is right just like Amiesimaka. If you doubt it, then answer this question. Where are our soccer prodigies like Femi Opabunmi, Stanley Okoro and Chrisantus Macaulay who shone so much in the FIFA U-17 competitions not too long ago?

Before them, you had Dimeji Lawal and Phillip Osondu who mesmerized the U-17 World Cup in 1987 in the then USSR. From the 1989 set to Scotland, Ikpeba was the only one who played for a long time in big European clubs and he said it was because he used his real age.

What else does the NFF need to know they were the mischievous and unpatriotic Nigerians who wanted a short cut to victory and therefore should tender an unreserved apology to Amiesimaka which should be published in same national newspapers through which they castigated him. Period!

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