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Odogwu In Box 18 : Nigerians And Entitlement Mentality

It is always normal in a Nigeria setting to hear people blame the government for the plight of any former Nigerian sportsman or woman .

It is also normal to hear these ex-internationals blame their misadventures on the government inability to take proper care of them. You regularly hear them say “after I sacrificed for the country, they abandoned me”.
Nigerians are always quick to blame the government for using and abandoning these ex-players .

Recently, a picture of an ex-international player went viral on social media on his pitiable state, and many Nigerians are quick to put the blames on the doors of the Nigeria Football Federation, calling on the Federation to go to his rescue.

Good as that may sound, because we are all made of blood and flesh, many questions that always come to mind are why would government come to the aid of any ailing player or sportsmen?. How many civil servants or soilders that retired from service will return back to the government for help after service to the country? .

Some questions that are frequently asked are does it mean that the government owed these players while they served ? did the government employed such a ex- player? If the Civil servants who were employed by the government for as much as 35 years, do not run back to the government for help after retirement, while would a player who was only engaged on adhoc basis believes that the government should always help him? . Many of us know that they received huge amounts in hard currencies for the services rendered then. We also know that they were on payroll of a club before they were invited to serve the country. What were the retirement arrangements they made for themselves while their playing lasted, and what were the arrangements made for them by their employers? . How far did the player go to properly empower himself while playing or did he solely depended on his skills, which is always shorten age or injuries.

In England, the Professional Footballers Pension Scheme was created to provide valuable benefits for Registered Contract Players and their dependants during their playing career and after they leave or retire.

The Scheme is administered by Trustees and its assets are completely separate from the Leagues’ normal business and assets.

Footballers can receive retirement pay just like any other profession. In the UK, players in the Football League make their own contributions; the Professional Footballers’ Association makes its own annual contributions to each player’s pension fund.

But, here in Nigeria what we have is a situation where players depend only on the government after the end of the careers. When, they could no longer make ends meet, they restore to emotional blackmail to draw public sympathy to themselves. Nigeria players who earn as much as six hundred thousand naira monthly hardly agrees to part with any percentage for any pension scheme, instead they prefer to squander everything, believing that tomorrow will take care of itself. Those, that had the opportunities of playing in the senior national team are played bonuses ranging from five to ten thousand dollars as match bonus. They even earn more when they are in a tournament. But at the end of the day, they would come out to cry of neglect.

Time has come for the Players Union to put their house in order and take up the responsibilities on the players, and the league bodies make it compulsory for certain percentage of players earning reserved for tomorrow.

This is the only way the burden will off the shoulders of the NFF, and the public perception of the football body reduced. All these emotional blackmails have made the ignorant public believes that the people in NFF are just using and dumping the players. Time has come for us to face the reality, after all, many of the players flew on the wings of the country to prominence.

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