World Cup blog

Murray's backhand beats Nigeria's U-turn


Tennis player Andy Murray gives us his tips on reaching perfection, while politicians show us it's time they refrained from dabbling in sports.


Must be something in the mineral water because I had a second night of very odd dreams.

Just before going to bed I read an email about yoga classes in Paris during the summer. At the foot of her email the yoga teacher had a couple of sayings. One of them was from Pele: ‘’Practice is Everything.’’

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A few hours later I was in church discussing this phrase with Andy Murray who was talking about how hours on the practice court had made the strokes seem instinctive.

I love it when my favourite sports come together but I did wake up baffled.

Maybe I’ve got the potential to become a poltician in Nigeria.

Why? Because it’s fairly clear some of the top men there are in a dream state.

Their latest wheeze involves the country’s international footballers. There you are with your 4-4-2 haircut and on the touch line there’s some pretty boy warming up with his 4-1-2-3 dreadlocks. You’re doing your best, sometimes winning sometimes losing, sometimes drawing.

You get to the semis of the Africa Cup of Nations and the football association sacks the coach.

They appoint a Swedish trainer who comes in exuding Scandi cool. At the first world cup in Africa, you lose your first game against Argentina. No shame there. Coach Large Sleekerback says we stay calm because the second game is the key.

The second game is going to plan . It’s actually going well, you’re 1-0 up and on the way to redemption when one of your teammates goes bushman and rakes his studs over an opponent’s thigh.

Bye Bye teammate. And then the opposition take over and win.

Eliminated and on the beach somewhere, you then hear your president wants to exacerbate your misery.

Goodluck Jonathan came from leftfield when he said that the overall performance had been such rubbish that Nigeria should not play any international games for two years.

It’s clear that the president is powerful or his advisors are asleep because no one questioned him on how inaction would actually make a team better.

I’m trying to think of a game in which if you don’t perform things get better.

Jonathan also ordered an audit into how the funds allocated for the team at the World Cup were used. That could prove interesting.

But once the president and his buddies made their move, you knew what was coming from world football’s governing body Fifa.

The Zurich-based ostriches take ages to get their act together about wrongly awarded or disallowed goals, but a democratically-elected politician entering the football forest? Then antlers are sharpened and it’s time for some heavy rutting.

Fifa’s top stags gave Nigeria a few days to back down or face "the suspension of the Nigerian (football) federation".

Essentially, which was what the president wanted.

So it’s strange that things are back to normal.

You can see why politicians should stay out of football. It’s for their own good. Otherwise they end up looking dopey.

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