Footy-Money

Football has lost its Soul.

Howdy…hopefully you are having a great week, irrespective of your country staying or crashing out of the world cup.  Since inception, the stats on this site have indicated that the largest percentage of our visitors come from the United States, England (second) and Nigeria (my home country) is a paltry third. Apparently charity no longer begins at home. Only makes sense for me then to reciprocate the gesture shown by Americans by supporting them at the World Cup and I’m glad they made it through to the knock-out stage.

What a World Cup it has been so far, considering I wasn’t really keen on watching it, I am now hooked. Hopefully this world cup would be remembered for what it really is, a footballing spectacle rather than a tournament that showed the world what kind of man Suarez is, or how players would place their personal benefits over the needs of a country. The latter is actually the focus of this post.

I have never represented my country in any activity, sporting, educational or otherwise, truth is someday I hope I would. I am pretty certain that a lot of people share that opinion but the reality is that at least 90% of citizens of every country would never represent their countries in any official capacity in their lifetime. Some school of thought might even increase that percentage to 95% or even higher.

This bestows some form of responsibility and pride on anyone selected in any capacity to represent an entire nation to perform to his or her optimum. Apparently this ideology is lost in our modern day game especially with teams from my continent. No tournament where there is African representation passes without issues relating to players welfare or attitude making headlines.

Before the current world cup, the players from Cameroon refused to fly to Brazil sighting issues of unpaid allowances, the Ghanaian team (our best hope at this tournament in my opinion) embarrassed the whole continent as the country had to fly in 3 million dollars in cash to pay its players to avoid a boycott, the Nigerian team have just towed the same line and refused to train due to disagreements over allowances. The Nigerian team has one of the highest budgets for teams at this competition, according to the breakdown, each player will pocket $10,000 as winning bonus for their group games, and $12,500 for the Round of 16.The players are to receive $15,000 for the Quarter Finals, $20,000 for Semi Finals and $25,000 for the Final match.

Accepted that whatever emoluments promised should be paid as at when agreed but to hold a whole country to ransom because some delays are being experienced just goes to show why as fans we are the last remaining soul of football. A major criteria for joining top clubs in England is the percentage of national team games you play. Ironically when these players are seeking moves abroad they are willing to play any amount of games to get their numbers up.

The Ghanaian situation particularly hurts because I work in a financial institution and I keep trying to picture how that amount of money was flown in cash to make payments in 2014. Picture this, a Ghanaian FA official named Mensah has a list of players in his hand and they are gathered in a meeting room.

Mensah (in accent like Samuel Kuffor on SuperSports)   – Hello boys, we are gathered here to share the allowances for da group matches of da World Cup so fer. (fer as in far). On da mention of yor name, kindly step forward.

Mensah (screams)  – KP Boateng! KP Boateng!! Where is that confused tattooed boy who doesn’t even know if he is from Jamny (Germany) or Accra?

KP Boateng – Here boss! Strolls over with his sagged baggy pants with huge pockets waiting to dump the money in it.

Mensah (screams yet again) – Micheal Essien! Michael Essien! – Considering you are always injured, I don’t even know if you are deserving of this money. Micheal Essien ignores him, he is more interested in checking if his notes are complete and the officials haven’t extracted a dollar each from every bundle.  Mensah (screams him away) – get away you, maybe with this money you can finally afford to buy a comb to run through that your hair.

This goes on and on for everyone. Seriously, I have no other way to think of how this sharing would have occurred, yet they go on immediately after and put up their worst performance in the world cup. Even when Ghana lost to the USA, it was exciting. The draw with Germany is still the best game in this tournament and to see them throw away their chances at making it out of the group is nothing but a shame and  I hope the fans in their country give them a huge piece of their mind.

Joseph Yobo the Nigerian Captain before the world cup

As the captain of this team, I am privileged and proud and honoured to represent my country.

“The players are all happy and they know the task ahead.

“There’s no problem. We just need to agree on what we want to do. We are ready to play for Nigeria and we don’t represent our country because of money,” he said.

I guess we all know what to believe now. These guys are like mercenaries, the only motivation they have is money. The last thing I want to hear from a footballer now is that I play for honour, we know what you play for and please our IQ’s should not be insulted any further.

On the day Nigeria played Argentina, a bomb went off in the capital city Abuja just a few hours before the game killing almost 25 people yet that did not dampen the Nigerian fans as twitter, bars and even offices were buzzing with fans supporting their country. I watched the first half of the game at the office and drove home to complete the game; sadly I was stuck in the usual mad Lagos traffic. Immediately Ahmed Musa equalized a few minutes after the restart of the second half, I could feel it on the bridge as there suddenly was loud screaming and people with outstretched arms informing other road users that we had equalized. 2-2 ! 2-2 they screamed!

Streaming the Nig vs Arg game live at the office.

Streaming the Nig vs Arg game live at the office.

 

We lost finally, but that is what football is, that is the joy it brings especially for countries like ours that are so divided and we can only come together when we play football. How is that the players no longer realize this? How is that they sing the National Anthem and watch the flag rise and all they can think of is how much they will get paid? How is that in a country where university strikes last almost a year and soldiers fighting an ever growing insurgency complain of lack of funds but players representing this set of people can demand anything and get almost anything they want? How is that they are so far from us?  Who do they really represent? Us, or their deep never ending pockets.

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FIFA sells its competitions to the highest bidder, league fixtures are set by TV Companies with no regard for how far fans have to travel between games, an average fan cannot afford to watch a game at the world cup, an average fan cannot even afford seats at the Emirates and has to wait for Capital One cup games to see his beloved Arsenal live. Football has lost its soul, footballers have lost it, as fans we must learn never to support the name behind the jersey but the badge in front of it because only that remains constant….or does it? Didn’t Vincent Tan of Cardiff City change everything about his club throwing away all the history? Hull City to Hull City Tigers? Damm! As fans we sure are fucked in this messy game of who can collect the most money from football.

What a depressing post for such an enjoyable period. Forgive me.

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6 thoughts on “Football has lost its Soul.

  1. Ross Tommey

    Football is a Divine Comedy of Paradise Lost.

    The morality of us all has the effect on the players in terms of their morality; loyalty and consideration towards each other’s health and wellbeing are no longer high on their personal agendas. Money is. From Cassian to Dante avaritia is third on the list of deadly sins. Suarez just adds wrath to his personal capital vices. Name a footballer that isn’t driven by pride or a football fan. Name a football fan that isn’t driven to envy or a baller. They make the back pages for their sport and the front of newspapers for their lust. We are all guilty of vainglory (sloth) and the world we live in is gluttonous!

    So we should expect to get what Dente warned us of!

    Fortunately I don’t believe in the existence of a soul and being a Marxist the knowledge that football is just an opiate that is driven by economic doping; always has been and always will be. My fortune in not believing in souls and being able to recognise the obscenity of the corruption that money brings to the game; at both a personal and global level, has meant I can just appreciate the game.

    As you know I’m and never have been an international football fan. International football is a means to an end of recognising the top level of player in the game. It serves as a unwanted distraction between domestic football seasons. Emanating from England (most Engerland fans would settle for second place) I have never been an Engerland fan mainly out of a distaste for being part of a monarchy; I last sang my nations anthem when I was 12, but more so as they haven’t regularly selected Arsenal players. I watch a game of international football proportionally. That’s if Engerland were playing Italy at the same time as Germany were playing Ghana, I’d be watching Germany/Ghana; that game wins 3-1. I watched the Engerland/Costa Rica game over Uruguay/Italy as that game won 2-0! I only have a football interest proportionally to Arsenal players. As soon as Jack and Joel exited the game I switched channels and managed to get a bite of the game of the round! Why was I not surprised at Luis Suarez biting a fellow human being? That’s because the controllers of the game don’t see the players as human beings they are commodities like oranges growing in an orchard for the making of orange juice: it doesn’t matter how bruised they get when picked as they are all going to be pulped in the end! Why would a psychopath like Suarez read the game any differently? His mental wellbeing is ignored by the game and he is allowed to continue to participate uncontrolled with his wrath. Why are we surprised by the avarice of the African players when they were dangled monies, all the monies, just to represent their impoverished places of birth? Why are we surprised when a baller hits the headlines for his lustful performances with a local prostitute? Why are we surprised when pride comes before the fall? Why are we surprised when Chelsea sign all the players; for their gluttony knows no bounds! Why are we surprised when we demand “why you no sign Messi?” it’s envy I tell you?

    We are all responsible for creating this divine comedy: We are stuck in the inferno. Watching and supporting the game is our vainglory; it truly is purgatory. It is only when the team that we support wins that we can reach paradise but as soon as we ascend to the heights of the glory do we realise that it is Paradise Lost!

    Reply
    1. SimonSEEZ Post author

      Hi Ross,

      There usually is a lot of talk about people singing the national anthem of Great Britain. Saw a lot of comments about it especially during the Olympics. Not sure there is a country with more apathy to its national anthem like you guys..

      Honestly I like you only recently started watching the Nigerian team, couldn’t stand the players attitudes when they play for the country for a long period and Arsenal interest in a game is more likely to get to me to watch that the countries really involved.

      Random question? does Purgatory, paradise, hell etc. exist in Maxcism?

      Reply
      1. Ross Tommey

        Simon: There is no heaven and no hell and by default no purgatory in my world view. This is also true in Marxist philosophy. Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Further; “The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man.” Therefore by extension man has created heaven and latterly hell. “Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again.”

        With regards to nationhood in the UK: It is alive and very much kicking, the recent swing in political terms to the far right is evident of that. My country however does have a growing republican minority who wish to see the abolition of the monarchy. The fact that our jingoistic national anthem is not sung in our schools and is it mainly used to toady up to the head of state is because it is not universally representative of the country or it’s people. With a country that has a populas that is 55% atheist, or having no god or gods, we do not wish to sing a song that asks of an imaginary sky daddy to save an archaic leader of an antiquated system!

        Additionally we are a nation that is made from separate countries a ‘united kingdom’. In sporting terms that means we have 4 separate national teams. It is only the English and the Northern Irish (under review ‘Londonderry Air’ is used at Commonwealth Games) who sing the UK’s national anthem at football matches, the Welsh and Scots have their own for all sporting events. The English do use William Blakes’ ‘Jerusalem’ for the Commonwealth games and rugby internationals – this is not likely to be well recieved by English football (thugs) fans as they revel in the jingoistic fervour that surrounds the English national team!

        Now ¡Felicitaciones Costa Rica! Bring on ze Germans! Don’t really care for the Belgiums too many Middlesex Hotspurs and Chavs for my internationalist view!

        Reply
  2. Olami Naija

    Just how do you lay the blame on these players and football as a whole when, on the African national teams’ side, those whose responsibilities are to ensure the welfare of this players rip them off and forget them when they r injured. I know a player’s injury is to be treated by his or her club but a good country is, through it’s football association, to monitor said player’s well-being. Why’s Victor Anichebe not any longer playing for Nigeria? I’m Nigerian. Football is a business. Clubs employ players as you’re being employed in a financial institution. You know you’ll leave someday. Players do too. How much stress dey your job? These are guys who won’t even eat as they could afford, drink as they like and have sex as they please. Nice piece though.

    Reply
    1. SimonSEEZ Post author

      Thanks Olami,
      Agree with you on the role of the FA in ensuring things like these don’t happen, but isn’t that an indication of everything that happens here? Does it only happen to them? Or they are just fortunate that they function at a stage where it would embarrass the govt more? How come when they need us to gather enough caps they don’t fuss as much? They show up early to camp and are extremely humble. None of these players are poor. Most of them will never be in their lives except they make foolish financial decisions? Are you really going to compare the stress of working 9-5 in Lagos to playing football especially when you compare the earnings? I am not a footballer, I think footballers should earn very well especially considering the amount of money they generate but when it comes to representing your country, it should really mean more than money….3million dollars on a plane to brazil…seriously?

      Reply
      1. Ross Tommey

        The Greek players seem to be the exception; Quote: The Nigerians on the other hand; Link:

        You cannot compare a job that the majority engage in to an elite sport; however you can complain about the capitalist commercialisation and the over inflated payments that players, agents, team managers, and owners take out of the game. Football clubs are the 18th century mills of their day. The workers outside of the playing staff and the senior management team are not paid well and their conditions of employment are biased towards the employer more than any other workplace. For example a member of the Emirates stadium cleaning staff earn less than the London living wage. This should be an embarrassment to any Arsenal fan and the players representatives should stand up for their less well paid colleagues. They won’t because the PFA (Players union) is just as greed driven as the bosses!

        Reply

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