Can Harakiri save Nigeria’s football?


For those who do not know, the term Harakiri or Seppuku is Japanese and it is a ceremonial suicide.

It is done publicly by ripping open the abdomen with a dagger or knife.

Pic: NFF president, Aminu Maigari
It used to be practiced in Japan by members of the warrior class called the Samurai when disgraced or sentenced to death.

To put it into better perspective, it literarily means stomach-cutting and is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. The samurai used it because they wanted to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies.

Sometimes it was a form of punishment for those who had committed serious offences

The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion.

Now that we are done with the definition and explanation of the term Harakiri the next question should be, “Why or how can it save Nigerian football?”

I am certainly not advocating bloodshed now or anytime soon in Nigeria so let me rephrase to, “Can football hara-kiri save Nigeria?”

So what is my definition of football hara-kiri?

Well, judging from the original definition, I can coin football hara-kiri to mean a ceremonial resignation from a “footballing” office after you have failed yourself and the nation.

It should be done publicly in the full glare of the press and possibly live on TV and radio.

Since suicide means death, this football hara-kiri should also come with the people committing it to sign a document that they will never vie to administer Nigerian football again at any level (death so to say).

That way we can begin to chart a new course for Nigerian football if the current set of administrators who now have the unenviable reputation of being the worst set Nigeria has ever had are no longer destroying our football and we are sure they will never come back.

Who knows, time could just prove that they will remain the worst because Nigerian football, hopefully will never be this low.

Since they became members of the Nigeria Football Federation, Nigeria lost a regional football competition, the ECOWAS Cup which the country hosted.

Nigeria’s women national team for the first time failed to qualify for a tournament when they were knocked out of qualifying for the All Africa Games.

The same women failed to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Now talking about the men, the country failed to qualify for the All Africa Games and Olympic Games and also failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations… all in one year.

Nigerian football has never been this bad.

Nigeria may not be used to winning tournaments yearly but at least the country qualified for them, didn’t they?

In the same period the Nigerian league set a record of running for 13 calendar months and went in its second season without a sponsor.

Surely these people do not deserve to continue but will they do the right thing? Keep their honour, or whatever is left of it and leave the scene?

Let me continue with history here

The first recorded act of seppuku or hara-kiri was performed by Minamoto no Yorimasa during the Battle of Uji in the year 1180.

It is remembered because it was the first. Can we have the first recorded act of football hara-kiri in Nigeria? A mass “suicide” at, say, Eagle Square in Abuja?

Surely Nigerians want to see their backs for good so let’s get on with this hara-kiri. It could just be the solution to Nigeria’s football problems.
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