A sports enthusiast and trustee of CSED Initiative, Cornelius Ehimiaghe, has advised former Nigerian sportsmen and women, as well as sports administrators not to expect the Federal Government of Nigeria to come to their rescue after they have abused their position of trust while carrying out their personal or national assignments.
Mr. Ehimiaghe who is a sport for change practitioner stated this during a telephone conversation with our reporter while reacting to a recent press statement by Samson Siasia.
Last week, during a press briefing, Samson Siasia stated that he was annoyed with the Nigerian government because he felt he was not supported by the government during the process of his recently decided “match-fixing case.”
Mr Ehimiaghe stated that given the nature of the allegation against Samson Siasia, there is no way any responsible government would take a side or support him because match-fixing in sport undermines the spirit of fair play and damage the integrity of sport. Furthermore, people who are involved in match-fixing seek to do so for their own personal gain. Mr Ehimiaghe stated that the victims of match-fixing like doping in sports are footballers, the football club, and football fans. Sometimes an entire country could also be victims of match-fixing.
“There is definitely no way any right-thinking government could support an individual who tries to gain an unfair advantage by tarnishing the image of football which is one of the platforms that brings Nigerians of all tribes together.
The fact that Samson Siasia is a Nigerian football legend does not grant him the privilege to attempt to twist the story of his match-fixing the way he is doing now, as he is not the first ex-footballer, coach or sports administrator to be charged with match-fixing, administrative malfeasance, abuse of a position of trust or the abuse of the athletes under their guardianship. Siasia should try and reflect on the incident that led to his ban, resolve to learn and teach other persons how to avoid making the same mistake in future.”
Regarding the issue of former athletes falling into distress in their later life, Mr. Ehimiaghe stated that this reality should serve as a lesson for current athletes to fully maximize their earning and potentials during their active days.
“The athletes should ensure that they fight for every kobo that is due to them by electing responsible athletes’ representatives into the various sporting federation in Nigeria. The athletes should strive to ensure that they use the local and international dispute resolution mechanisms to get the money that they are owed. Or their last option would be to seek legal redress in the court of law.”
The long and short of the matter is if any sports administrator decides not to invite “human right conscious athletes” to the national camp in the future, the athletes should move on with their lives and look for other platforms to develop their God-given talents.
“In 1977, a young Thompson Usiyen ditched the Nigerian national football team and he decided to go and study in America, he is still alive and doing well. In 1985, the fall-out between the then NFA and players of NNB FC Benin City led to Stephen Keshi and co opening the eyes of Nigerian footballers to the lucrative opportunities of playing professional football outside Nigeria.
The fact that Daniel Igali did not represent Nigeria in the Olympic Games did not mean that he is not patriotic, but he only took the most suitable platform to develop his athletics and academic abilities. Daniel Igali has in the past 15 years put his Canadian experience to discover and nurture the wrestling talents that abound in Nigeria. Nigeria does not owe our former athletes a favour. Nigeria is a stage, after you finish playing your part, you got to move on with your life. One pound no balance.”