Osasu Obayiuwana: Europe’s clubs need to stop taking and start sharing

With Real Madrid and their noisy but vastly improved neighbours Atletico, earning well-deserved places at this year’s UEFA Champions’ League final in Lisbon, the fraternity looks forward to what is certainly going to be a keenly contested encounter.

But as Europe’s – and undoubtedly the world’s – leading club tournament grows in competitive and commercial strength, certainly helped by the huge global audience it continues to pull, it is a telling reminder, to African club football,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: The big questions need an honest answer

When Liberia’s George Weah became the first African to win the FIFA World Player of the Year title, in 1995, many thought that it was going to be the first of many for the continent’s players.

With their ascendance and growing impact in European club football – which, fairly or unfairly, remains the yardstick for picking the best on the planet – it was taken as a given at the time.

But nearly 20 years have passed since the former AC Milan forward earned the game’s top individual award and it does not appear that another African will be following in Weah’s footsteps anytime soon.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: UEFA’s self interest makes a joke of the ‘global’ solidarity pitch

When UEFA and its member countries take a decision to fundamentally restructure the way in which international football, within its continent, is played, it ought not to concern the rest of the global fraternity.

What European football does within its borders is, in principle, their prerogative.

BUT – and this is a big but, obviously – when a continental decision is taken without any cognisance of the effect that it would have on the WORLD game,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: No love for the home boys

Since Mexico ’86, when Morocco’s Atlas Lions became the first African side to reach the second round at the World Cup finals, the continent has managed, in the six tournaments that have followed, to maintain an unbroken presence in the knockout stages.

But on the seven occasions that an African team has reached the second round or the quarter-finals, the managers at the helm have come from every other part of the world except –

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Appetites lost for fixing the fixing issues?

When a World Cup host is found to have been involved in match-fixing, not just once (as if that’s not bad enough) but several times, any right-thinking person, concerned about the integrity of the game, would assume that confronting this heinous crime against our sport would be a priority matter.

As Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, repeatedly puts it “match-manipulation is the biggest threat to the game today.”

Unfortunately, the investigation into South African football –

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Libya’s Cup of Nations takes some believing

Charity, they say, is supposed to begin at home. Or, at least, in your continent.

But I am wondering whether it is an adage that officials of Libya’s government and the football federation have ever taken to heart.

At the recent laying of the foundation stone, at a stadium to be built in Tripoli, the country’s capital, ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations they are to host – assuming the war-torn country is peaceful enough –

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Osasu Obayiuwana: The real art of management in Nigeria is keeping the job

In the sensible regions of planet football, a manager that does the tough work of qualifying a team for a World Cup finals has earned the right to manage the team at it.

But what is obviously the logical, common-sense thing, is certainly not the established rule in Nigerian football, where they operate from a different playbook.

Over the last 20 years, as well as in the four tournaments the Super Eagles have played in (1994,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: South Africa must confront the bitter truth

Had Fikile Mbalula, South Africa’s angry minister for sport, possessed a statutory right to execute members of Bafana-Bafana, for their dismal performance at the last Championship of African Nations (CHAN), I have little doubt he would have been sorely tempted to use it.

I’m also certain that some equally irate fans would have gladly paid for the privilege of watching the deed being done.

Having failed to qualify for the knockout rounds of the tournament they were hosting,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Substitutes for experience; but will they be Supersubs?

When Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, was recently appointed as UEFA’s coaching ambassador, he gave what I thought was a logical piece of advice for the next generation of managers.

“I would say to every young coach – make sure that you prepare and give yourselves the best opportunities by getting their (UEFA) licenses. It is very important.

“Even when they get their licenses, they need to ensure they attend all the coaching seminars…

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Politics threatens to knock top off Egypt’s football pyramid

In the tumultuous period that has followed the toppling of two presidents, Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, over the past three years, with the country remaining in a state of political flux, the huge damage done to Egyptian football cannot be exaggerated.

Its clubs are yet to recover from the severe hit to their finances, as a result of the abandonment of the 2011/2012 national championship, following the death of 74 fans, after a match in Port Said between Ahly and Masry.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Up for Champagne, anyone?

It’s one thing to throw pre-fight verbal salvos or shadow box in the dressing room.

But walking through the political gauntlet and stepping into the ring, especially when you don’t know the opponents you’re competing against, is certainly a huge leap of faith.

That’s what Jerome Champagne, the 55-year-old Frenchman and FIFA’s former deputy secretary-general and director of international affairs, took when he announced his decision, in London on Monday, to seek the most powerful position in football and,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Do CAF awards dishonour more than they honour?

Having taken a firm position, over a month ago, against the selection of Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure as the BBC African Footballer of the Year, it would be no shock to regular readers of this column that I am in complete disagreement with his receipt of the official title in Lagos, Nigeria, last Thursday.

The argument put forward in my December 5 piece, “What is an African performance worth?” hasn’t changed a jot.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Charting a path for Africa’s future

With roughly five months to the World Cup finals, the burning question of how the African quintet will perform in Brazil and what it might say, about the competitive state of the continental game, will soon be answered.

But what really bothers me, as we begin another year, way beyond whether an African team is able, for the first-time, to reach the semi-finals – as desirable as that is – is when the various countries within the continent will get down to the much-needed business of hammering out sustainable plans for long-term development.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Pieth’s farewell to football

With just days to the end of the year, and his tenure as the chair of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee (IGC), you would think Mark Pieth is extremely glad to be well rid of an assignment he admitted has been extremely difficult to manage – getting the game’s chieftains to radically change the way they do business.

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Pieth was quoted as telling the German newspaper that he “would not take on the task again,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: What’s an African performance worth?

Arsene Wenger is, clearly, not a fan of individual awards for players, such as the FIFA Ballon d’Or, for the reason that the “endorsement of an individual goes against the essence of our sport”, which is about team effort.

“I fight like a mad man against the award, which hurts football… the player is prompted to favour individual performance over that of the team,” he argued during his appearance on Telefoot, a programme on French television.

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