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Death is our unseen opponent in sports, says Adelabu

By Gowon Akpodonor
09 June 2016   |   2:17 am
Death is our unseen opponent at every stage in sport. In football, if you survive the first half, it is awaiting you in the second half of the game and occasionally it will go into extra time...
Stephen Keshi led Nigeria to their first Cup of Nations triumph for nearly 20 years in 2013. PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Keshi led Nigeria to their first Cup of Nations triumph for nearly 20 years in 2013. PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

‘Don’t be hypocritical with Keshi’s death’

“Death is our unseen opponent at every stage in sport. In football, if you survive the first half, it is awaiting you in the second half of the game and occasionally it will go into extra time with us and even to the dead ball situations, but the fact is we do not know at what stage it will win the game.”

Those were the words of former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu yesterday while reacting to the death of Stephen Keshi.Like every other Nigerian, Adelabu was shocked when he heard the news about of Keshi’s death.

Speaking with The Guardian, Adelabu, who played for the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan said: “He was my dear friend and colleague. “Olubodun sobia Keshi” (This is our inner circle football names). Our Stephen Keshi is gone like other ex-internationals who are dead; the big question is whether we, sportsmen and women in Nigeria, live a fulfilled life after our active years?

“For the ex-internationals who are now their own spectators in the four corners of their homes, our lifestyle, coupled with unpleasant memories and uncertain future in a country where a few group of people control the economy of our sport make it an added advantage for death to win the game of life easily. We must arise!!!

Speaking further, Adelabu, a sports scientist said: “I keep hearing from the press that Stephen Keshi’s death was a big loss; to whom? Since Keshi was unceremoniously sacked by a group of political touts in our football administration, how many journalists asked of him? This guy stayed at home going through mental torture as a result of the way the people of his own country treated him and there was no help from anywhere. It took the intervention of the president of a country like Nigeria for him to keep his job at a point in his career.

“His death was obviously a loss to his family and I do not know how you can claim to miss someone who you made irrelevant in the development of the game he spent his whole life to play.

“I know there are still many of us alive and this is a big lesson for the rest of us in every sport. I do not understand why the sport we spent our lives to build turns its back against us when we need its support. In other parts of the world, a lot of athletes receive support from the sport they spent their lives to build but not so in Nigeria. May be there is a need for us to repent as a nation of all the sins we committed both locally and internationally to win at all cost and our attitude of misappropriation of funds. Perhaps, God will hear us and forgive us so that our sport economy can come alive and support the sport men and women who laboured for their country.”

According to Adelabu: “It is also of importance that the good people of this great nation should help us pray to God to remove the administrative CURSES upon our sport. The question is, how can we have different people in sport administration at different times, but doing the same thing? That is a good sign that the sport administration is under CURSE.

“The goodness of an item will be determine by the ability of the person that possesses it to get the best out of it. Majority of our talented athletes have been mismanaged to the point that even the nation has no room to accommodate them so that they can mentor others who are coming. Hence, the reason for the generation gap in our sport development.
Bye Keshi. Rest in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ.”