SALIVATING FOR WORLD CUPS THROUGH RUSSIA 2018 – PART 2.

As I welcome you to the second half of this write-up, let me ask you a very salient question on Russia 2018.

 

Yes, what is the number of Russia 2018 on FIFA WORLD CUPS? I am sure so many fans of Russia 2018 might miss the correct answer to this “simple” question.

 

Well, it is the 21st FIFA WORLD CUP. From Uruguay 1930 to Russia 2018, 21 world cups have been held.

afrotrad09102018
Sports For All Nigeria contingent at Hannover Germany 2000

Remembering that the world cup is held once in four years i.e. in periodic table of Olympiads, as dictated by the Olympic Games. It alternates the Olympic Games. Now, if you missed that “simple” question, rest your mind. Take it easy. It is not fully your fault, it is because of the over flowing popularity of the FIFA WORLD CUP which title is usually entwined or meshed with the name of the host nation(s). And also, when you say world cup, or when you hear Journalists saying “the world cup”, people mostly refer to FIFA WORLD CUP. It is for football only they simply call THE WORLD CUP. When they refer to any other world cup rather than FIFA football (senior) world cup, they prefix it with the name of the sport(s), that you may have e.g.

 

  1. ABULA GAME WORLD CUP
  2. AFRICAN BILLIARDS WORLD CUP
  3. AYO WORLD CUP
  4. LANGA WORLD CUP
  5. TRADITIONAL WRESTLING WORLD CUP
  6. PHARAO BOXING WORLD CUP
  7. NSANGO WORLD CUP
  8. EKUMERAN WORLD CUP
  9. MUDESI WORLD CUP
  10. BOJUBOJU WORLD CUP
  11. PARA – SOCCER WORLD CUP
  12. KEKEYIYI WORLD CUP etc.

 

Association football has been able to register the phrase “The World Cup” in the minds of the people on the globe, billions of them, that with or without official “COPY RIGHT” the phrase “THE WORLD CUP” is FIFA WORLD CUP.

 

“THE WORLD CUP” seems to have been conceded to Association football. It is already built in the minds of the people just like UNESCO builds peace in the minds of the people.

 

I want to say, many more people enjoyed watching the world cup, Russia 2018 on their television sets in Nigeria this time around. These was mainly because there was better supply of electricity from the public source much higher than before and free viewing centers were made available by some government apparatus in Nigeria. This and others were great indications that even though we were far away from the theatre of action at Russia 2018, we too also contributed to the huge success of Russia 2018.

 

Even the dead contributed to the success of Russia 2018. How? Yes, the great inventors, like the inventors of Television, light bulb, ICT, Radio, Automobile, the Airplane etc. contributed to the success of Russia 2018 in their areas of specializations and ingenuities. That is the human heritage and legacies through the history of man. We must appreciate them. So we can translate that in the promotion of our Traditional Sports. That means, we need modernism to boost our Traditional Sports. When poonah, (precursor of Badminton) harpastum, (precursor of footballs), “game played with curved stick” (the precursor of hockey) were exposed to perspective modern touches in England, the sports transformed and translated to become competitive (global) sports, so our African Traditional Sports need such touches and transformation in this modern era so as to gain the impetus/acceleration of becoming (global sports). As at now, none of the sports that originated from Africa is in the Olympic Games, none is a world cup sport, worse still, there is none as a scoring event at the (All) Africa Games. Unlike that, the 2018 Asian Games has the following Sports of Asian Origin, Judo, Kabaddi, Karate, Sepak Takraw, Taekwondo, Martial arts like Wushu, jujitsu etc. as scoring events in this great energy games. Africa must do something to promote her own sports as they say “charity begins at home.” Our sport may be our catalyst for us to make giant strides in developments.

 

Sound mind in sound body may lead to having sound developments. Afrotradosports observes that Africa has not been gingered to do this, we have been very comfortable as consumers of other peoples’ sports as a result of neo-colonial mentality and our fitness had been tied to our subsistence farming methods that naturally promoted our physical fitness without recourse to prescribed physical fitness exercises. It is time for us to wake up and do something in promoting our own sports in the spirit of “wakie wakie” the mascot of the 8th All Africa Games, ABUJA 2003.

 

This discourse on World Cups/International Championships has triggered up a nostalgic feelings in me in our own sphere of sport where I had attended a “World Cup”. Yes, a world cup. Your afrotradosports.man had attended a world cup in Traditional Sports! Yes, for your authentic information, there have been World Cups in Traditional Sports with the brand name “World Festival of Traditional Sports.” The first one was in 1992 in Bonn, Germany organized by TAFISA: Trim and Fitness International Sport for All Associations. The second edition was in Bangkok, Thailand in 1996 and the third edition, in 2000 at Hannover, Germany. This 3rd Edition dovetailed into Expo 2000, in Hannover Germany. This was the edition in which your afrotradosports.man physically attended “live and direct” through Sport for All Nigeria (through the Nigeria Olympic Committee) and I was in charge of Technical for our contingent.

 

I will just touch this briefly just as related to the World Cups. Our contingent presented Dance at the Festival. I remember vividly, that after our performance at the opening ceremony, Pr. Dr. Jürgen PALM came to visit our contingent. He humorously used his hand, pointing a finger to mimic how I rhythmically drummed my own part of our beat.

 

Yes, that is it, when you find yourself in a World Cup, you just have to play your part well, no matter how small or big, then people will appreciate you as small or as big as possible i.e. you will be recognized. Dr. Jürgen PALM was the then President of TAFISA.

 

THE TAFISA NEWSLETTER 2/2000 captured the essence of the festival as follows: “Noting that the World Festival of Traditional Sports to be celebrated in June 2000 under the auspices of “Trim and Fitness International Sport For All Associations” [TAFISA] and with the patronage of UNESCO, in connection with Hanover world exhibition “Expo 2000” will help to create a worldwide awareness of traditional sports and indigenous games and physical activities, thus making an important contribution to their preservation:

  1. Requests the member states to organize and support festivals of traditional sports and games at both national and regional levels and to provide opportunities for participation in the world festival of Traditional Sports.

 

  1. Requests CIGEPS, with the help of the relevant regional and national bodies and networks and the support of NGOs, associations and institutions concerned to prepare a worldwide list of traditional games and sports…”

 

The TAFISA NEWSLETTER 2/2000 excerpts on the 3rd WORLD FESTIVAL OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS 2000, interview with the managing directors of the World Festival 2000 GmbH, Klaus Witte and Horst Westphal, further educate on the festival as follows:

 

Question: How can this festival counteract the extinction of traditional sports?

Klaus Witte: The enormous response from the visitors in the last two World Festivals of Traditional Sports clearly demonstrated that there is huge interest in these games and sports. This makes us very confident. When we demonstrate the games and sports and invite people to join in, large numbers of people are filled with genuine enthusiasm. We must use the week of this international festival in the year 2000 to revitalize forgotten cultural treasures. And because of the close collaboration with EXPO 2000 Hannover GmbH, we will also be able to show that these games and sports play a vital part in bringing people together and fostering international understanding.

Question: What is the role of the Olympic Games which takes place in Sydney in 2000?

Horst Westphal: We want to show that there are many other different and very interesting types of sport in addition to the competitive sports featured at the Olympic Games. Our festival has the objective of maintaining traditional sports which are particularly endangered in industrial countries. One of the reasons for this is that these countries tend to concentrate on competitive sports.

 

The Seminar & Symposium of the festival had these slogans: Games of the past-Sports for the future, Globalization, Diversification, Transformation.

 

Yes, participants came from nooks and crannies of the globe. I hope I have been able to convince those who had not known about this before, that, there is “World Cup” in Traditional Sports and that the 7th edition of it is coming up in Lisbon, Portugal in 2020 as “TAFISA WORLD SPORT FOR ALL GAMES.” Wow! I am salivating for it. What of you? May be in your own sports! Or our Traditional Sports! 

 

Well, let us go back to soccer. “Soccer” is more popularly used in Nigeria when you want to buy the boot for playing football. It is “a pair of soccer boots” not “football boot”. However, when talking of football field and not soccer field. It is just like the African Billiards; when you want to play the African Billiards game, you would hear, bring out the African Billiards Board. When you want to set up the seeds for playing it, you would hear, put the “aarin” on their spots. This is because the original name i.e. the native name for the marble seed for playing the game is called “aarin”. So the name “aarin” is still more homely with the local elder players than the name African Billiards, but the generality of the new generation playing the game go with African Billiards. However in soccer, the name football and soccer are used interchangeably from time to time without any of the too sounding inferior or illegal.

 

By the volume of this write-up, we should now be entering its EXTRA TIME!

Football got to Nigeria during her colonial days under Britain. Today football is the most popular sport in Nigeria. The governing body for football in Nigeria was established in 1945 and named Nigeria Football Association (NFA) now called Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Nigeria has been part of world cup for a while now. The first player to score a goal for Nigeria in the world cup was Rasheed Yekinni and the captain of the team that won Gold Medal for Nigeria in football at the Olympic Games is Nwanko Kanu. Nigeria has won the world cup in the junior category. In fact, she was the first to win the under 17 male category World Cup (1985). Even, she is the current leader in this grade; haven won it five times (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013, and 2015) including a back to back. Great! The captain of our Team, the Super Eagles to Russia 2018 is John Mikel Obi. The player that has scored the largest number of goals for Nigeria in the world cup up to this moment, (August 2018) is Ahmed Musa. In fact his fantastic goal at Russia 2018 where he displaced the goal keeper (falling down) and two defenders defending desperately fell within the best ten goals of Russia 2018. Well done Musa.

 

Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt represented Africa at Russia 2018. Unfortunately, no one of these our five representatives went beyond the preliminary stage at Russia 2018. According to fifa.com, the eight countries that have won THE WORLD CUP so far did so as follows:

  1. Brazil: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002
  2. Italy: 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
  3. Germany: 1954, 1974, 1990 2014
  4. Uruguay: 1930, 1950
  5. Argentina:1978, 1986
  6. France: 1998, 2018
  7. England: 1996
  8. Spain: 2010

 

IN ALLTIME RANKING, Nigeria stood like this (2018) Nigeria was ranked 32 and has played 18 matches won 5, drawn 3 and lost 10 since 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014, 2018 – 5 times

 

As the world cup was hot-up, the Nigeria House was displaying our culture in Russia. The Nigerian House should at least be displaying or exhibiting Ayo, African Billiards etc. and show the videos of African Traditional Sports at such occasions to spread the information to popularize African Traditional Sports. The Nigerian House planning for Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, should include this idea in their program and the Expo 2020 in Dubai should include this in their exhibition.

 

Putting everything about RUSSIA 2018 in the right perspective, verily, verily, the 21st World Cup was a theatre of fantastic performances. Tourists were seen on the television to be in great affable spirit, highly hilarious, indicating that they were enjoying hospitality extra-large inside Russia especially at the RED SQUARE. The stadia were full to the brim with spectators oscillating from one pensive mood to another jubilant mood as dictated by the performance of the team they were supporting at each moment. The coaches were absorbing the tension of both failures and successes. The referees were on extra-alert exerted on them by ‘authorities’ conferred on VAR (Video Assistant Referee). The super performing volunteers, especially those who spread the horizontal flags on the fields of play popularly referred to as flag bearers. The flags were spread so flat that you could not see any ruffle or undulation. The flag bearers stood round the flags like pegs as they used the wing-attachment-handles to exert stretch-tension on the flags and made each flag to assume the semblance of a huge trampoline rather than an ordinary flag made of cloth. Certainly, those who made the flags put extra touches and the volunteers who executed this assignment, played a trump.

 

Then, the final match between France and Croatia summarized the magnificent attainment of Russia 2018 in all ramifications. It was REGAL with all the players, spectators, officials and the V.I.Ps performing their functions at world class level, fantastic celebrations, leaving everybody far and near salivating for more WORLD CUPs.

 

That there is salivating for the world cup is confirmed with this short drama between an imaginary fan of Afrotradosports and your afrotradosports man.

Fan:                 Mr. Afrotrado, did you see what I saw on the Television?

Afrotrado:      What did you see?

Fan:                 Hah! I saw a very high V.I.P giving a red card to another Very High V.I.P, and the red card was collected as a mark of honor and was spontaneously and humorously displayed with a stance suggestive of “I hold the red card, you know!”

Afrotrado:      Was that so?

Fan:                 Hah, more than that, the V.I.P that gave out the red card brought out another surprise, a jersey, code named ………26.

Afrotrado:      Alright, alright, I have gotten what you are driving at. Really that scenario was one of the major preliminary stages of gunning for THE WORLD CUP, 2026.  Yes, my dear afrotradosports fans, all over the globe, do you now agree with me, that, high or low, people are salivating for the world cup all over the world?

 

Yes, you can’t beat THE WORLD CUP. Football is already up there. All football should do now, is to show charity/thanksgiving by picking at least one indigenous sport from the five major continents of the world for special support or development. Football should be his brothers’ keeper.

Thank you.

Mallam Elias Yusuf

 

N.B:

Happy 58th Independence Anniversary to Nigeria, October 1, (1960 – 2018). You saw our banner in the photograph at Hannover 2000. Fine, that is one of the things that our Traditional Sports can do for Africa (projecting our identity, image, heritage etc.).

 

 

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