I had wanted to skip this week, so as to make it a forthright ritual. But what I witnessed yesterday, Sunday October 22nd, 2023 at the Kwara State Stadium Complex when Kwara United Football Club hosted Rangers International FC of Enugu prompted this.
Again, I was already preparing for another issue, a special and International issue that concerns Nigeria and Kwara state, most especially, for next week. That’s the issue of Squash. Yes, Squash.
This is so because, following ratification at the 141st IOC session in Mumbai, Squash, Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles will be played at the LA28 Olympic Games. That’s a cheering news that I know the Executive Chairman of the Kwara State Sports Commission, Mallam Bola Magaji will celebrate.
It has been his dream, and it has come through, and coming at this time is good for Mallam Bola Magaji who has invested, and has continued to invest heavily on the game right from his playing days. He was a squash player, squash coach, squash referee, head of the referees body for squash and an administrator. He has motivated many to play the game, and even sells sqush kits and equipment. He was intrumental to the construction of many squash courts across the nation. He is Mr Squash.
Yes, back to the issue of the day. Last Monday, I mentioned the fact that Kwara United Football Club has never won the NPFL title in history. My exact words were “In history, Kwara United has not won the league since its introduction. If we are sincerely united as Kwarans, and begin to look beyond an individual, it will happen”.
Yesterday, I witnessed the glimpse of that hope, that aspiration, that spirit of believe in almost everyone and group at the Stadium. The primary, secondary and tertiary stakeholders all supported Kwara United against Rangers wholeheartedly. Even those that were at the stadium for ulterior motives were converted.
The support was tremendous, and that had its roots from the commitment of the players on the pitch and on the bench. They were urging themselves on till the last minute. Even when one of the players, Ayo Adejubu was down and couldn’t continue, his colleagues carried him to the sideline for medical attention and continued the search for the winning goal which never came, despite the numerous chances created. I believe its a blessing in disguise.
It would be recalled that Rangers had gone ahead in the 33rd minute through a well taken free kick at the top of Kwara United’s 18 yards box. The eventual Man of the Match, Alao Mohammed equalised for Kwara United clinically, in the 56th minute, benefitting from a through pass off the free kick taken by Kabir Balogun, the Captain.
Unlike what used to happen before, even when Kwara United was trailing, the support was huge and genuine, right from the top to bottom. This is the spirit that will take us to the promised land. That spirit that was supposed to go with the United attached to Kwara that makes it Kwara United Football Club.
Just like I said last Monday, its not about an individual or group of individuals. Its about the state, Kwara State. I also added, “The potentials are there. But we must work hard, and work together to protect our heritage”.
I already see us protecting it.
I will want to beg all of us to sustain that spirit. This is about us. About the state, our state, Kwara state. Even when they are playing away from home, they need our encouragements. Let’s be harmonious in supporting Kwara United, the Harmony Boys.
The day is still young. We have played just four matches out of 38 in the season. We have enough room for adjustments and readjustments. But the technical crew and players must continue to display that commitment that will ginger us all to go all the way. They can do more, and should do more.
Re: Kwara Sports: A gossip and backbiting field
I must say that I was overwhelmed with the feedbacks I already got on last Monday’s episode with the above caption. The feedbacks are still trickling in. Commendations, advises, cautions, evidence on some issues, both dead and alive, and above all, condemnations. They have all been well received, and some will be applied as we progress.
But above all, for those who knew the history of “Direct Kick” that started as a Sunday-Sunday tonic in The Herald Newspaper some years back, they will understand the patriotism and the never say die spirit behind it. This is my state. And sports is my trade, the only source from which I derive joy, happiness, enthusiasm, and above all, my source of living. I have no other job than sports and everything that surrounds it. I cannot therefore, compromise.
Just like I said ealier, some reactions were personal. Some were collective. Some even went as far as trying to use me to settle scores. Well, I believe they did that because they don’t know me. I fight my fight alone, based on principles and facts, and sometimes with figures, if need be, in line with the ethics of journalism.
We need to encourage ourselves enough. We would need to have a Sports Summit, where issues will be tabled, discussed, debated and solutions projected. Our Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is ready. The ball is in our courts.
See you again next week.