Oyo SWAN Remembers Late Ogedegbe


The Federal Government has been urged to drop quota system in selecting football national  team as well as pay more attention to football for the nation’s football industry to  improve.

The called was made in Ibadan by a guest speaker, Dr. Babatunde Olu Asagba at the first  late Best Ogedegbe memorial lecture organised by the Sport Writers Association of Nigeria  (SWAN), Oyo State Chapter.

Dr. Asagba said that rather than selecting coaches or players based on quota, the nation  should be focused on having the best hands to either coach or play for the nation.

He said situations where a bench warmer in a club or a player playing for a 3rd division  or relegated club abroad is considered good for the national team is unprogressive and an  insult to 150 million Nigerians.

He also advocated that the best remuneration be paid to the players adding, “When players  are to be paid their allowances, this should be done promptly. Again what is good for the  goose is good for the gander. The case of foreign and locally based players in camp is  referred to here. Besides, the ticket cost, allowance for both categories must be the  same”.

As regard getting the best talents into the nation’s football team, he called on the  appropriate authority to look towards the direction of secondary schools and local areas  like under the bridges in Lagos, where talents are, and such materials eventually get  wasted because they are not discovered.

He noted that rather than going abroad to bring undisciplined players into the country,  it would do the nation a tremendous good if they could look inward and develop talents  that will be patriotic.

However, most footballers who spoke with P.M.Sports confirmed that they had forgotten  Ogedegbe, saying that they did not remember that a year had gone that he died.

Amongst those that did not remember that Ogedegbe died exatly a year ago are: Oladimeji  Lawal, Femi Opadotun, Kola Ademola and Peter Toye.

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However, they condemned the government and stakeholders for not immortalizing the great  football hero. Speaking at the function, Oyo SWAN Chairman, Salem Akindele-Rock lamented  that Nigerians has forgotten Ogedegbe so soon, saying it is in the nature of man to  forget the good deeds of men once they are out of sight.

According to him, several people like Ogedegbe have died in the history of Nigeria with  no man to ever remember them again apart from their beloved ones who are left to bear the  indelible hurt of a loved one until they live no more.

He said, “Presently, the nation is agog with the celebration of the 50th years of  nationhood but in all the celebrations, how many of the fallen heroes of our independence  still get a mention?

“Those, who toiled, labored, sweated and shed their blood to wet the ground of  independence, only get scarce mentions, while billions of naira are spent by the living  to celebrate an independence that has failed to lift the nation to the heights dreamt of  by the founding fathers. Are the labours of our heroes past, not really going down the  drain?”

He described late Ogedegbe as a national hero, a fine sportsman, a gentleman to the core,  a patriotic and selfless individual, a professional to the letter, an optimist, a  perfectionist, a legendary goalkeeper, football administrator, trainer, mentor and a  family man.

According to Akindele-Rock, Ogedegbe’s generation has fought both as players and  ex-players to take Nigerian football to its zenith.

He said the labour of the former football players had been sacrificed on the altars of  greed, corruption, ethinicity, nepotism, favouritism, elevation of mediocrity and  selfishness, stressing that Nigerian football has never had it so bad, never sunk so low.

He called Nigerians not to allow Ogedegbe’s name to die.

—Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan

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