N a i j a m a n i a c

...nuts about Naija

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why I Hate Soccer

How do I explain why I hate a game you are perhaps so much obsessed with. I wouldn’t be far from the truth to contend that you cannot remember the last mouth-watering and finger licking delicacy your mum served you, but you can remember how 20 years before you were born Manchester United wrecked Arsenal in Highbury.

This game (soccer) of yours, no doubt has been a fountain of joy to your life that you prefer to discuss it than your studies. At the crossroads of your life, you chose to watch your favourite European team play or discuss their chances in lifting the trophy rather than preparing for the examination you will soon write. A classmate of mine in the university once had a carryover because he missed his paper for a premiership match transposing the time for both.

Some years ago in Taraba state, the Wukari Local Government council in Taraba state banned Arsenal and Manchester United fans from viewing matches in the same hall. The reason was not because the Tiv and the Jukuns were at war for a parcel of farmland again but because some ardent fans of the two clubs had a disagreement while watching a match together. The arguments that ensued while in the hall, reached an uncompromising point where the fans turned the viewing centre into a boxing and wrestling ring. Three fortunate souls had to see God, one became Cyclops while the other unfortunate ones where confined to the unending comfort of the wheel chair.

I will not bore you with the story of a friend who fractured his skull from a ceiling fan while celebrating a goal let alone two Manchester United fans that got crushed by a trailer on the Zaria – Funtua expressway while celebrating their victory against their famous rivals in the premier league in a few years ago. I am not a doomster but I know you can remember the grief your most cherished game once put you in.

In 2007, just because a soldier in my neighbourhood in Zaria had in a fortnight bought a bike from money won by predicting a certain number of soccer games, sold all his property, borrowed money from friends and embarked on a dreamland millionaire fool’s paradise project of pool. The soldier all of a sudden became omniscient that he could predict a certain number of matches that will end in a draw score line in Europe. Deaf to all the pieces of advice that everyone around him had to offer and mad at his wife for trying to stop his prosperity. He roamed the streets of Basawa Barracks a wretched man in a derailed state of mind until he gave up the ghost in 2009.

In 2008, the Director General of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) allegedly lost his job because he attempted to restrict the transmission of premiership matches in Nigeria – a move he envisaged will help develop the local league in the country.

Obviously, the easiest way to make Africa remain at the back yard of development is to set up more viewing centres in the villages so that youths can spend all day watching TV than go to work. Our mothers were once told that it is healthier to feed their babies with milk from “John Holt” and “WAMCO” rather than breast milk – that was during colonialism. We are at liberty to enjoy the glamour of unending European soccer competitions on TV while we forget that a local league is in existence. I am not a sage, but this is neo-colonialism.

While we sit back and blame our fore fathers for being feeble-minded to have allowed the little things of the white man such as gin, mirrors and pieces of fabrics to give up their people into slavery and coordinate the smooth take off of colonialism. We would be more feeble-minded to sit down all day discussing soccer rather than think of how to develop ourselves.

Perhaps, I do not even hate soccer, I am not just obsessed with European soccer the way you are.

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