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Wanted: Nigerian football museum – Part 1

By Tony Afejuku
15 October 2021   |   3:47 am
Let me state from the outset that I was not ready for this topic now. Of course, for sometime in the distant and not distant past the smell of the happenings in our football house, in our football federation...

Football Photo:Pixabay

Let me state from the outset that I was not ready for this topic now. Of course, for sometime in the distant and not distant past the smell of the happenings in our football house, in our football federation, had invited me to give attention to the current leitmotif there. I kept on turning down the invitation. The smell of plutocracy of power, of freedom-less freedom, pleasures and loveless love going on there did not really meet an inch of the space of mind of my support and thus did not meet my approval. Did it really matter what I thought or did not think with the way our football was run, or is run, or would forever be run?

Now I received an intriguing post from across the Atlantic about a black wizard who was as important and as significant as the best footballer, the best football player ever, Pele the Eternal Football Immortal who cannot be imitated or replicated. I am digressing, but I will retouch this shortly. The post I received sent my mind back to my last column where I drew attention to the late female football amazon and the first, the very first, female football proprietress, Princess Elemi Rewane. I said, among other things, in my tribute to her, as follows:

This magnificent sports amazon and proprietress died yet our Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) chaired by an Itsekiri son did not deem it auspicious to do for her the rightful that she gloriously deserved, that the great dreamer of reality richly deserved. What a man manning our football federation!

One reader who read the column across the Atlantic messaged me thus:
Good morning my dear Brother. I never heard of Madam Elemi Rewane’s passing. I met her on several occasions at several UPN events. A very articulate, stately and gorgeous lady. Very disappointing, but not surprising, that the Nigerian Football Federation did not honour her. I recall a similar disgraceful treatment was visited on the passing of the great Patrick Noquakpor, a winger on the Nigerian team in the late 1950s/mid1960s. He was a national teammate of another great footballer Daniel Okwudili. Okwudili and I lamented the treatment of Noqukpor when we were watching a match at the (then Ogbe Stadium in Benin)

May her soul… rest in perfect peace.

The author of this WhatsApp message was a great left winger, who also was very academically brilliant, in the glorious days of amateur-cum-professional, or quasi-professional football in your country my country our country in the fabulous nineteen sixties. He is today a highly rated professor in an envious branch of the social sciences. He has traversed strange and familiar latitudes in Nigeria, USSR, Ukraine, Canada and the United States. His message entered my football-charming mind and delicious thought in a powerful manner that compelled Mr. Amaju Pinnick, the Itsekiri-born chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation, to float as I never really intended in my subconscious sketch of his birth time. How old was Mr. Amaju Pinnick when Elemi Rewane founded the Warri Ladies Football Club? How old was Mr. Amaju Pinnick when Patrick Noquakpor, the dashing and dazzling left winger mesmerized his markers and spectators when Nigerian football was a palatably delicious delicacy that was never diluted with borrowed roughages from elsewhere? Mr. Amaju Pinnick was probably not born then. Or if he was probably born then he at best was probably a toddler. I don’t know where Daniel Okwudili is now, but this erstwhile forward of our Green Eagles who was a product of Amukpe Football Club of Sapele was also probably unknown to Mr. Amaju Pinnick and his fellow members of the Nigerian Football Federation. Now my readers should see and grasp where I am heading – or where I have headed even though I have not yet landed. We should probably not blame Mr. Amaju Pinnick after all for not placing at least a football tribute to Elemi Rewane in our newspapers and in the Confederation of Africa’s (CAF’s) and FIFA’s websites. Because Mr. Amaju Pinnick and the NFF he heads and leads are greenhorns in regard to the pretty-pretty story and history of Nigerian football we should perhaps excuse them their lapses and lapses with respect to how and why they did not remember Elemi Rewane (and Ebiyon Dediare, another splendid member of our Green Eagles in the nineteen sixties who very recently passed on without a word of tribute from the NFF.

Mr. Pinnick, on account of my remarks above, should establish for the records, and as a matter of urgency, a Nigerian football museum to check the hotchpotches of our national football house which the NFF is a muddled sketch of. If it is not practicable for him to do so now, he should set machinery in motion to establish it now. A list of all eminent persons consisting of players, administrators, sports journalists, medical doctors, coaches, real men and women who manifest the livingness of Nigerian football at all levels right from the past should be celebrated in the museum. Members of the national supporters club over the years should also grace the museum.

To be continued.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.