It was a gut-wrenching Thursday night for devoted football fans in Nigeria – the match between Senegal and the Super Eagles played in England was without a single live broadcast.
Thousands of Nigerians moved from their homes to viewing centers around the country to catch a glimpse of the match but to no avail.
The NFF had asked Nigerians to watch online via a provided link.
Shamefully, the match that ended in a 1-1 draw in front of a disappointing crowd was played at English Football Club Barnet’s ‘Hive Stadium’.
A case of neglect?
Many die-hard fans bought the stipulated N500 ticket to watch the match, but ended up being ripped off as it was not shown eventually.
The company which was scheduled to stream live the match later apologised with promises of a refund of the N500 paid without any offer of compensation.
The money of course is not an issue considering the depth of love and patriotism of Nigerian fans, who would have loved to watch their beloved Super Eagles in action.
It is also a failure on the part of the NFF to schedule a match without concrete arrangement to have it shown on mainstream TV, we are talking about our Super Eagles here.
It is totally unacceptable and the NFF should be ashamed of this neglect of our passionate fans. It must not happen again.
A case for Black Armband
The Nigerian football federation had earlier tweeted that players will wear black armbands to play in England in the wake of the Westminster terrorist attack, where several people were killed (May the soul of the departed RIP).
Regrettably, the football federation have never been known to get the Super Eagles to wear black armbands to honour the victims of insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country, not even the fallen soldiers in Nigeria. Not even a thought of it.
I recall not long ago stressing to the NFF about the importance of respect, using the power of football to unite the nation when soldiers fall in battle, shortly before the Nigeria vs Algeria World Cup qualifier late last year in Uyo, which unfortunately fell on deaf ears.
Is the NFF still broke?
So many questions were on the lips of Nigerians who feel they should have shown the match live, and of course with no doubt, the Uyo stadium would have undoubtedly been filled to the rafters.
The glee on the faces of almost all the NFF board members, laughing away in the UK, with no expense spared hotel accommodations when they claim to be broke, truly begs more questions than answers.
CAF and continental engagements and recognition seem to be the major focus and interest of our leaders, than the feeling of Nigerians who elected them into office in the first place.
How on earth would you take a friendly involving the Eagles to England, and to add salt to injury the match was not shown live on TV?
On this one, the NFF have failed woefully and they owe all the over 170million Nigerians an apology.
By Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello
Independent Journalist, Digital Documentary Maker, Public Speaker, Change Agent, Sports for development Enthusiast , Advocacy.