Television, NTA And Sports – The Tragedy And The Lessons From Uyo

Television, NTA And Sports – The Tragedy And The Lessons From Uyo

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Congratulations Super Eagles for winning last Wednesday.
An emerging mixture of old and new-look Super Eagles, a team of young players largely harvested from the wombs of European clubs, comes to Nigeria, led by their holidaying coach, to take on the Squirrels of Benin Republic in an AFCON 2019 qualifying match. 
They are brought together, as usual, for only 2 days to train and play. The manager, Gernot Rohr, takes a break from his scouting assignment in Europe to mold together an ‘approximate’ team, and releases them to display individual skills and ability before a vociferous home crowd on the green lush turf of the Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo. 
The team wins but people are discussing NOT the match but the television coverage of it. 
Meanwhile, the team prepares to move on to Lesotho two days later for another encounter in the series of group matches in the campaign for a place in the 2020 AFCON scheduled for Cameroon next year. 
Although not really important but good to note, after that match that should be a routine ‘walkover’, Gernot Rohr will journey back to his Europe to continue his European safari, the smile on his face indicating his gratitude to Nigerians for gifting him the coziest, easiest and most paying job in the world – coaching their national team. His work has been a long vacation!
I do not know of any other coach in the world that enjoys the privileges showered on Gernot Rohr – a foreign coach that spends all his working hours in Europe! 
In the next 7 months or so, his contract will be up for either a renewal or an end. That decision is up to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, that has been under siege for some time and may not want to take on the burden of another controversy after managing to survive the most difficult challenge of its tenure – investigation by anti-crime agents. So, the NFF may likely let Gernot go peacefully.
I do not know what the German will need to do to win back most Nigerians to his side after the two huge disappointments of his showing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and at AFCON 2019 in Egypt that will not go away.
However, this is not about Gernot or even the Super Eagles.
The most enduring picture out of Uyo last Wednesday is the failure by NTA, Nigeria’s national television station, to properly bring to homes pictures reflecting the match as well as the beauty and magnificence of the most modern stadia in Africa, an edifice every Nigerian should be proud of, where the match was played and won – the Godwin Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. 
The vast majority of Nigerians all over the country that waited to watch the game on television have spent the past few days not reviewing the Eagles good performance but lamenting what turned out to be a television eyesore and nightmare. 
It was very easy for everyone to turn to the national television station and heap all the blame for what happened on the poor station. But the truth is that NTA are not to blame at all. 
Indeed, but for NTA, Nigerians would have had to face blank screens on their television sets on the day of the match, with the circumstances created by the Confederation of African Football, CAF, with only hours to go before the match, for any decent coverage to take place.
It was an impossible task. 
Segun Odegbami

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