Osasu Obayiuwana: Africa is a continent – and a country

Other than for the slightly mischievous purpose of beginning a discussion, triggered by fellow Insideworldfootball columnist Lee Wellings last week, as he looked at the chances of the African quintet going to next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, the headline for this week’s piece would, obviously, be silly.

Lee asked me whether “it’s frustrating that people outside Africa talk about [African] nations as ‘representing the continent’, as he wondered whether “the biggest hurdle towards an African side finally winning the World Cup is that we (as in the rest of the world,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: A chat with a (penitent) match-fixer

Considering the cold fact that Mario Cizmek is set to spend a minimum of 10 months in prison, for accepting money to fix six Croatian first division matches in the 2009/2010 season, the 38-year old is surprisingly calm about what awaits him.

He spoke frankly about his criminal activity at the last ‘Play The Game’ conference in Denmark, an international event that tackles the uncomfortable issues of ethics and good governance in sport.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Winning is certainly not everything

Over the years, I’ve been forced to develop a rather sceptical, hard-nosed attitude towards the achievements of particular African teams in FIFA’s Under-17 and Under-20 competitions, because some Cup ‘victories’ were certainly achieved by using over-aged players.

In an ‘off-the-record’ conversation I had with an ex-Nigerian player, who captained the ‘Golden Eaglets’ to one of their four Under-17 World Cup wins, he freely admitted to me – long after retiring from the game,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Dyke’s FA scores an own goal

As a veteran of several boardroom battles and high-wire conflict with the British Labour party, as he led a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that was extremely critical of the former’s conduct in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, while it was the party of government, one would have thought an English FA chaired by a supposedly media savvy Greg Dyke would be particularly conscious about not embarrassing itself in public.

Resigning in rather dramatic (some would say unfair) circumstances,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Is Libya safe for a 2017 Cup of Nations?

As the opening stage of the 2014 World Cup play-offs for Africa ended on Tuesday, another four weeks must pass before knowing, for certain, the quintet that will represent the continent in Brazil.

But Algeria, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and particularly Ghana’s Black Stars, which gave Egypt a surprising 6-1 wallop in Kumasi, will be feeling they are closer to earning their qualification tickets.

Whilst fans were concentrating on the action taking place across the continent,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Jordaan wins – but faces a huge challenge

If “a week is a long time in politics”, as the oft-quoted remark of the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reminds us, 202 days is certainly an eternity.

That’s the period between March 10, when Danny Jordaan lost a second successive bid to earn a seat on the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and September 28 when he won, by a landslide, the South African Football Association (SAFA) presidential poll.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Bunglers’ club gets another new member

The proverbial ink had barely dried, after writing last week’s column, when Liberia became the eighth African country to be investigated by FIFA, for using an ineligible player in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman, who received yellow cards in games against Uganda and Senegal, was fielded in their final qualifier against Angola, which they lost 4-1.

Should they be found guilty, as they most likely will be, the West Africans will be paying a $6,300 fine for their avoidable error.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Admin bunglers keep bungling the basics. How hard can this be?

How difficult can it really be for the officials of a football association to keep accurate statistics, as well as master the eligibility rules, of players entitled to feature for their countries in crucial international matches?

One would assume it does not take the genius of Albert Einstein to carry out basic record-keeping duties.

But the recurring drama of administrative ineptitude, leading to the cancellation of several World Cup qualifying results across Africa,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Blowing the whistle on CAF 2014 qualification

That the 10 teams for the final knockout round, of the African qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup finals, will be known by the end of the first week in September, following the conclusion of the group stages, is no breaking news.

But the CAF-inspired decision not to allow the continent’s final five World Cup qualifiers emerge, directly, from the league format, as was the case for the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Breaking down the doors of the old boy’s club

Getting a substantial number of women into the corridors of administrative power remains a major challenge for football, which is still seen – not without justifiable cause, I might add – as being a stuffy old boy’s club.

If there is one thing in which Africa is certainly pointing the right way to Europe and the rest of the world, it is in giving women a chance at the top of the administrative ladder.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Can CAF function in Egypt’s political cyclone?

With Egypt taking one uncertain but dangerous turn after another, as a result of the raging political crisis, the ‘House of African football’ is unwittingly caught up in the crossfire of a domestic conflict.

That’s an inescapable consequence of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) being headquartered in Cairo, the theatre of bloody street battles between rival supporters of the military-backed transitional government and the country’s democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, forced out of office a few weeks ago,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: World Cup worries for Africa

As many within the fraternity would remember, the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa were coined as the ‘African World Cup’, for obvious ‘feel good’ reasons – being the first (and hopefully not the last) World Cup to be hosted on the continent.

But with five of Africa’s six teams knocked out in the first round of that tournament, it was anything but a successful advertisement for the strength of its football.

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Nigerian football totters on the edge

If you’re a coach that recently delivered your country’s first Africa Cup of Nations trophy in nearly 20 years and also happen to be the only living player in the continent with the distinction of captaining your country to the same title, you would think that the least that could be expected is the prompt payment of your wages.

But that is not the case for Stephen Keshi.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has failed to pay his salary for nearly half a year –

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Osasu Obayiuwana: Intrigue in South Africa

When Lord Palmerston, the 19th century British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, made the oft-quoted comment that there are no “permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests”, in the cold-blooded pursuit of agendas, he certainly wasn’t thinking about the South African Football Association (SAFA).

But he jolly well could have been.

With barely eight weeks to the election of SAFA’s president and executive committee on September 28, the impending polls have reawakened old enmities,

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Osasu Obayiuwana: What do footballers owe themselves?

Louis Paul Mfede, the influential, classy midfielder in the Cameroonian side that reached the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup, died last month, at the relatively young age of 52.

But as sad – and shocking – as his demise was, the cause of his passing is far more surprising. Mfede died of a lung infection, which he was unable to treat at a Yaoundé hospital, because he could no longer pay for his hospital treatment.

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