Rate this
0 (0 votes)
"Millions smiled, despite their suffering, as they watched their soccer team"
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

"Millions smiled, despite their suffering, as they watched their soccer team"

On 25 July, governments will meet in London to consider how sport can contribute to advancing vital development goals. The 6th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting will review how all types of games can address social and economic challenges and promote global public health.

But why is sport so important for national development? According to Nnadozie Onyekuru, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria, it can help an oppressed nation through the toughest of times and is a tool for fostering national unity.

You ever wondered what kept Nigerians going throughout those unbroken years of military dictatorship? It wasn’t mere faith or hope in better days.

It simply was the love of the game.

Millions of citizens smiled, despite their suffering, as they watched their soccer team win the U-17 tournament, win the African Cup of Nations, win the Atlanta Olympics gold and rub shoulders with giants at France ’98.

Nigerians have a special affinity for soccer. In this country, when you mention sports, what the people understand is soccer.

During a match, large screen cafes throw their doors open and throngs of strangers besiege place for views of Kanu and Okocha. Rich and poor, oppressors and the oppressed, would huddle in, sweating side by side amid the tension. In between shouts of GOAL! GOAL! GOAL, enemies might not remember how many times they embraced each other.

There are many things that sports can do for a nation, but in a country with a multitude of ethnic groups more than the number of nations in the world, soccer is one very efficient tool for fostering national unity. When the going is good for our Super Eagles, we can work together on anything. But when it’s bad, as it has been in recent years, our fault lines are exposed and we are less than cheerful.

And if you think we are alone on this, you’re mistaken. Didn’t you see the sea of Spaniards that welcomed their Euro 2012 champions? Why didn’t the heat of the Eurozone crisis dampen their swath of red? I still remember the picture. I thought the Spaniards were having their own Arab Spring.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me:

“I am a Nigerian student. I love books. I am young and restless with firm dreams that are only tempered by Christianity. I dream of a world where people, inspired by their common humanity, engage in a global wheel of ideas and do not use history as a tool for blame game but as a lesson for the future. In my spare time, I write stories, speeches and participate in activities that advance the respect of human dignity.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments