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Not by any means necessary

Despite having a monster game in which he scored a hat-trick against Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea midfielder Emilio Nsue ended up costing his country the game because he was ineligible. He was also not cleared to play in their first encounter so he actually ended up costing the Nzalang Nacional a total of six points while earning the opponent six delicious uncontested goals.

While most agree that he should be covered in ash, wearing sack cloth and flailing away on his back with a Rhino whip in remorse, unfortunately for Africa he has not been the only one left with egg on his face. In fact there have been seven other instances recently that have left us football fans scratching our heads in confusion and shaking our fists in muted dismay at our administrators.

So, frankly speaking there should be more whipping, resignations and firing going on.

Joining the Guineans in ignominy are Ethiopia, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Togo and Sudan, who may have played like Lions on the field but to be quite honest, have been led by Donkeys to borrow Field Marshal Rommel’s famous quote spoken at Tobruk to Allied POWs.

The need to win at all costs is something that has now seemingly infected most of our football associations. Gone are the days when “we gave it our very best” sufficed and everyone could still walk away from a defeat with their heads held high. I will not waste your time by re-examining the various age cheating fiascos that have for long taken away the glimmer from the many trophies our youth teams have lifted. The muted whispers have long become open accusations and yet Africa is content to carry on with this open deceit.

In his latest blog The age cheating joke Calvin Onwuka says pretty much the same thing.

Not only does he write “It then makes it utterly farcical to have players who have played at least three years for their club sides in the top league appearing at Under-17 and Under-20 tournaments across the continent” but also like I do, lays most of the blame on management by adding “The sports administrators should take the Lion’s share of the blame for this. They saddle their coaches with the burden to deliver and the coaches in turn believe they can cut every corner possible to get a result.” James Bond 007’s creator Ian Fleming once wrote in ‘The Spy who loved me’, once–happenstance, twice-coincidence and thrice-enemy action. I wonder what he would say to a continent that has been caught cheating an appalling seven times in one competition?

No more Football?

Regardless, in the long run we must understand that the consequences are even more pronounced for Africa as they are dire. For starters, as the accompanying punitive fines to Fifa are paid by the offending associations, it is often done with money earmarked for other pressing projects.

Secondly we now enter and remain in the cross hairs of constant scrutiny and examination just because we are African and not just in Football. At the embassies, as we apply for visas or in the boardroom when we attempt to seal deals and bring investors ‘home’ they now openly wonder if this culture of deceit has also found its way here.

If there ever was a time for us Africans to look in the mirror and say enough is enough to those we have appointed – it is now. The message should be clear. Win but not at all costs. That should be left for wars and not the beautiful game.

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