Zenith Aspire banner advert Yudala Zero Gravity
Why the call to drop penalty misser, Nwakali, from Under-17 World Cup party is misguided

By News Express on 26/05/2013

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 2,736


As a sportsman and writer, and as a spectator in the stands, I have come to be used to hearing and seeing young soccer players subjected to bitter criticisms over their conduct on and off the pitch. Sadly, in many cases criticisms stray beyond the boundaries of common sense, and can have negative ramifications for the players and for the beautiful game.

Some sad episodes spring to my mind: That of a young player being physically assaulted and abandoned to trek home by a coach after a lost match in Benin City; the case, in my local Upper Sakpoba neighbourhood, of spectators hurling the most offensive of words on a soccer kid after they felt let down by his indecision with the ball, which resulted in their favourite team conceding a dying minute goal; and that of an entire bunch of players on trials in a Nigerian division one club in Ogbomosho sent packing after one of them blundered by giving away a penalty which made them lose a trial game.

Unfortunately, the habit of excessive and dangerous criticisms of footballers continue today, and can be discerned in the calls in some quarters for the exclusion of Chidiebere Nwakali from the Golden Eaglets’ World Cup squad on the basis of his horrible penalty miss in the final match of the African Under-17 Nations Cup which gifted Cote D’Ivoire the cup.

Truly, Nwakali hit a very poor, effete kick. His positioning on his way to shoot, being so unconventionally close to the ball, told of the lad’s cockiness. I found my surprised lips expressing disbelief about the quality of the penalty, and I think that fans are well within their rights to feel disappointed by that error. But demanding that the player be dropped in order to (if you would permit me to quote an angry phrase that arrived at my ears) “teach him a lesson on not playing carelessly” is an undignified thing to canvass against a young boy who was a key part of an impressive run of the Nigerian team at the Under-17 tournament.

If Nwakali is left out of the World Cup squad (I believe common sense would prevail, and he won’t be) it will surely teach some lessons to other young players, but that would likely include the kind of lessons that we will not like them to learn. It could most certainly send the message to others that making mistakes in the field is not tolerated and could be swiftly and severely punished. The consequence of this would be players with stifled creative urges. What we could end up with would be a mass of timid soccer players too scared to try different things for fear of not being given the sack.

Who would want the draining experience of watching robotic players devoid of the individual, impulsive urges that make football worth the match ticket, or the viewing centre charge? Who would want to see a team of players too scared to dribble, for fear of missing a trick, and therefore resort to the long ball and kick-and-follow routine?

I remember clearly a disconcerting experience I had some years ago when I started trying my hand at coaching a group of young footballers in Benin City. We were notching up wins in matches while earning praise for playing nice-passing football. But there was a day I got angry at one of my most talented players who executed the wrong tactics in a match (costing us victory). I expressed my displeasure quite harshly. He was downcast in the dressing room, tears welling up in his eyes. The effect was telling as in subsequent games, not only did he become uncharacteristically unexpressive and tentative in the pitch, afraid to commit errors and therefore lose his place in the team, the rest of the lads began to lose their flair as well and our play was threatening to become too stiff and boring for me. Everyone was wary of being similarly harshly criticised.

Noticing this ugly trend, I had to speak individually with all the players, emphasising how talented they were, and urging them to play freely and inventively. The result was a team of renewed self-belief, and the flair and expression returned, as well as match wins.

Football genius flourishes in environments where players are not quickly punished too harshly for their every act of error, and for this reason we should not over criticise Nwakali by calling for his exclusion from the Under-17 World Cup squad no matter how disappointed we are about his penalty miss. If the Ivorian goalie had flung himself completely the wrong way, we would have hailed the bravery and audacity of Nwakali’s penalty kick.

Dafe (shown in photo) is a freelance journalist and grassroots football coach based in Benin City.

Source News Express

Posted 26/05/2013 09:13:07 AM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

 

You may also like...
Ogun community to honour Governor, NNPC GMD, others...

Army explains raid on ex-militant leader’s home

Breaking News: ANAMBRA APGA gets NEW CHAIRMAN

Fashola signs N489.69bn budget into law

Rivers Waste Management Agency boss tasks LGAs Chairmen...

Umunna fights for black actors in Britain

DANGOTE STRIKES AGAIN! •Builds world’s best 1,000-bed capacity...

Children sue TB Joshua, Synagogue over father’s death...

El-Rufai says solar key to democratising access to...

Oyo Governor advocates full autonomy for states, LGs...

Irregular power supply hinders Diaspora physicians who desire...

The charade before the ballot, By Olusegun Adeniyi...

 

Latest News Police speaks on the kidnap of CBN Governor’s wife Ruinas De La Justicia (Part 2) Alarm bells ring over MMM scheme that has taken Nigeria by storm . . . COLLAPSE IMMINENT, say financial experts Kogi: Supreme Court gives reasons for dismissing Faleke, Wada’s appeals against Governor Yahaya Bello Resident Doctors vow to resist pay cut •Give FG tip on how to curb payroll fraud Biafra youths blame Nigerian Army for militants’ attack, killing of troops in Bakassi FG to exploit NAFEST as a tool for economic growth: Minister Court to hear Jibrin’s suit against Dogara on October 21 NANS threaten mass action against Giwa FC, says action could aid insurgency Renowned blogger Linda Ikeji to make special appearance at YUDALA ZERO GRAVITY Edo Polls: Saraki congratulates Obaseki Thieves target Winnie Mandela, steal birthday cash

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (205,273 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (186,662 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (157,591 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (152,464 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (131,700 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (117,879 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (109,182 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (104,213 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (95,225 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (92,111 views) APC cries foul as PDP’s Fayose takes early lead in Ekiti governorship election (88,444 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (63,572 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (2) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (22) Business (2,114) Business Verdict (9) Columnists (549) Complaints & Requests (53) Enterprise & Opportunities (101) Entertainment (240) Features (314) Global Business Monitor (114) International (977) Interviews (105) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (15) News (17,978) Opinion (571) Pidgin (8) Politics (3,142) Religion (405) Sports (1,109) Stock Watch (8) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

UBA banner advert

CBN BVN

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!