Football

A Nigerian Named Babanla Has This To Say About ‘The Kingsley Obiekwu Saga’

“Kingsley Obiekwu played 8 games for Nigeria. He was well rewarded for his role in Atlanta 96. Why does it reflect badly on the rest of us & not him that he is a bus driver now? Are we supposed to keep paying him for something he did in 1996? And how is it a bad thing to be a bus driver? Is it not an honest way to earn a living?

The idea that ex-internationals are owed a comfortable existence without creating new value is extremely funny. Those ex internationals who aren’t struggling are creating new value. JJ is an ambassador for many brands. Many are coaches. Pundits. Agents. You have to find a new way to earn an income once you retire else you might be in trouble in a few years. The idea that playing for Nigeria is a thankless exercise is a lie.

Representing Nigeria in football is not a sacrifice, it is a privilege. You travel comfortably, earn millions, earn an allowance for being in camp – even though every expense is paid for- build recognition (brands spend billions for screen time) with Nigerians & increase your worth.

What part of this is minimally discomforting?Obiekwu & others got millions, houses, lands etc for Atlanta 96. So have successions of Super Eagles teams. The idea that they are entitled to a comfortable life forever cos they played for Nigeria is infatile.

There is nowhere in the world where representing your country gives you a lifetime pass to a comfortable existence while doing nothing. If you cannot convert the resources you earned & leverage the recognition & goodwill to create a comfortable existence for yourself, it is on you. Let’s stop signalling to our players that they are owed in perpetuity because they represented Nigeria.

I know a member of the U17 China 85 team who was bitter & didn’t do anything with himself for decades simply because he thought that achievement entitled him to vast riches. Luckily, he snapped out of it & is doing well as a coach now. I wish Kingsley well and hope he manages the monies donated to him well.

If I were him, I’ll buy another bus & keep driving one.The wave of sympathy will pass & people will move on shortly. A proud owner of a fleet of commercial vehicles is not a tragedy simply because you once played for Nigeria.”

Source: Babanla

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