The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) leadership has described John Mikel Obi’s uncomplimentary comments about his lack of regulation at Chelsea FC as uncalled for and should not have been, in view of the Nigerian media’s contributions to his career and the country’s football as a whole.
The Super Eagles captain had said comments made by the team’s coach Gernot Rohr before Saturday’s 3-1 win over Algeria were mistranslated and taken out of context by the Nigerian media, as “English isn’t Mr Rohr’s or much of the Nigeria media’s first language”.
But SWAN however viewed the incident as part of its members’ sacrifice towards Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The association had in a communiqué issued at the end of its convention in Ilorin in September urged all Nigerians to see the country’s qualification for Russia 2018 World Cup as a national project.
We still stand by this resolution and urge all our members to disregard Mikel’s comments and continue to play their crucial role of promoting the country’s football with all necessary zeal and patriotism.
“The collective responsibility being propagated by SWAN is already playing out with the unprecedented cooperation among critical stakeholders towards the cause, which has resulted to the Super Eagles leading their group after victories over Zambia and Algeria in Ndola and Uyo respectively.
“What we expect from Nigerians and critical stakeholders at this point in time are actions and statements which would strengthen our team’s concentration towards achieving qualification and not controversy.
“While we commend the Super Eagles and salute coach Gernot Rohr for their efforts so far, we are however hopeful that the team’s defence line would be strengthened to overcome greater challenges as we progress.
SWAN also lauded the Federal Government, the National Assembly, the Akwa-Ibom State Government, as well as all other stakeholders for their continuous support to the team.
“While we remind all critical stakeholders that the battle is not over until it is over, SWAN under the leadership of Honour Sirawoo will continue to seek the support and understanding of all stakeholders in the sports sector as it intensifies its reformation agenda towards effective service delivery and securing respect for sports journalists,” concludes the statement.