Sons of Nigerian footballers have not done enough to fill in their fathers’ big boots, IKENWA NNABUOGOR wonders why..
It’s becoming a trend that Nigerian players are not succeeded by their sons in the beautiful game – football, and it leaves much to wonder why this is actually happening.
In other countries, great players have had their sons succeeding them on the pitch, continuing where their fathers left off, some doing as well as their fathers, very few doing better than their fathers.
Notable names like Jordi Cruyff, Bryan Robson, Paolo Maldini, Casper Schimichel, to mention a few, followed in their fathers’ footsteps and left some lovely memories.
In Africa, Abedi Pele’s sons – Dede and Ayew, as well as current Liberia president and 1995 World Player of Year, George Weah’s son, Timothy, are the biggest names to follow in their fathers’ footsteps.
The great African players’ offsprings have really done well for themselves at least to continue their fathers’ legacies.
But that’s not really the case in Nigeria as the insignificant number of wards following their fathers’ footsteps sadly belie their name and good memories their fathers left behind.
Hence, the question – where are our players’ sons?
Football watchers have wondered why it’s becoming tough for our players’ sons to succeed their fathers and continue from where they left off.
Football greats like Segun Odegbami, Adokiye Amaesimaka, Finidi George, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Ademola Adeshina and others have not had their sons putting smiles on the faces of fans just like their fathers did in their hey days.
Late Stephen Keshi, who captained and coached Eagles to African Nations Cup triumphs had sons that are into another career apart from football as well as majority of his contemporaries.
The likes of late Rashidi Yekini , who won the African Player of the Year twice, Victor Ikpeba, 1997 African Player of the Year, Mutiu Adepoju, as well as the late Uche Okafor are some of our greats that didn’t have sons, though Adepoju’s daughters chose careers in basketball and even represented Spain.
Daniel Amokachi’s twin sons have taken their father’s path but have yet to make impact, hugely unlike their father who made history by becoming their first player to score in the newly introduced UEFA Champions League group stage for his Belgian side, Club Brugge, in 1992.
The twin were engaged by Besiktas, same club their father played for, but failed to lift their games. They were last heard to follow their father to Finland where the former Club Brugge star was a Director of Football. Little has been heard about them thereafter.
The only notable players’ sons who took to the trade were Bunmi Adigun’s and Barnabas Imenger’s sons – Adebayo and Barnabas Imenger junior, respectively, who also took their game abroad.
While Imenger junior took his game higher by playing for the Super Eagles, just like his father did, Adebayo fizzled into obscurity after stints in Japanese and Albanian football. He has since retired and taken to football management.
The question is: are the players’ sons just shying away or getting intimidated by their fathers’ achievements to choose another career?
Again, could it have been just the way God designed it that football is nowhere near their calling?
Your guess is as good as mine.