Can a man live without balls? And other trending stories from Nigerian football

Ask any man you know and nine out of ten will tell you they love their balls and will do anything to protect them.

On a football pitch, during a free kick, men will block their balls from being hit by the ball and wont care about their faces; an object is thrown towards the lower region of a man and he wants to protect his balls first, not minding the damage to his hands. No need giving more of these examples because we all know, male and female alike how much men love their balls.

Can a man live without balls? Well, I spoke to a doctor, Tunde Akinbinu and apart from trying to confuse me with loads of medial jargon he told me something or things that made sense.

Man can live without balls as the only (did he say that) or maybe the major function of the balls is to produce sperm to impregnate a woman.

So I may not have balls but I'll still have an erection, I'll still take down a woman in bed but protection or not, there is no way she will get pregnant if I have no balls. Hmmm. Dr. Tunde, how am I doing on this?

A few busy bodies reading this piece are already wondering what this has to do with football that qualifies it to be on Nigeria’s Biggest Football blog so let me cut the chase.

For about two weeks now our ears and social media pages and groups have been inundated with stories that Nigerian football club, Rivers United had no balls to play in the Caf Confederation Cup.

When the team returned from the 3-1 loss to Club Africain and after 1-0 home win against FUS Rabat there were complaints that they did not have the official Confederation of Africa Football, CAF balls for the competition.

Now, the aim of this piece is not to investigate why they had no balls but the real effect on their play.

According to Rivers United’s coach, Stanley Eguma, Emeka Ogbuh’s penalty loss was because he was not used to the ball.

He said, if they had trained with those balls, Ogbuh would have scored that penalty.

He went on to add that they struggled at Club Africain and at home to FUS for the same reason.

According to him, “We trained with one type of ball and played the games with another.”

Before the team left to Uganda, it came up again that they had not yet gotten the match balls and I asked, what are the advantages of having match balls on time before a big game or tournament?

I asked Victor Ezeji who had played in the Nigerian League for 20 seasons, at Club Africain for one season and had close to ten caps for the Super Eagles.

You need to get used to these balls before games and the reasons are simply that you must get the bounce of the ball right and the speed too. You can only know these if you have trained with them continuously prior to the game,” Ezeji told NaijaFootball247.com.

For the penalty miss, Eguma is absolutely right. Those CAF balls are very light whereas the NPFL balls Rivers United have been using are heavier so it is possible that Emeka Ogbuh applied more weight on the ball and I tell you, that ball almost left the stadium. I agree with Eguma on this,” Ezeji said.

So Rivers United have a case of not training with the match ball affecting their play but I am still not convinced, not fully though.

The only Rivers United game I have watched in the CAF Confederation Cup has been the 2-1 loss at KCCA, the Ugandan giants and I noticed their play was not pleasing to the eyes.

The gaffer started the game with three Defensive Midfielders yet it seemed that no one was marking. It was sad to see the players all over the pitch like each one did not know what to do.

Both goals Rivers United conceded were basically school boy errors that my graas root football team may not make. I do not think that could have been blamed on the match ball.

For the first goal the KCCA attackers had so much time and space in and around the penalty area of Rivers United and I wondered why the three defensive midfielders were.

For the second goal, two defenders went up for the same ball, both missed it and the loose ball fell to the feet of a grateful striker who had all the time in the world to pick his spot before scoring… Match ball absence?

All match long I could not count the Rivers United team string four consecutive passes as they seemed a disjointed lot that just met for the first time on match day.

It is really easy to blame the absence of match ball for the abject display I saw on the day, but again, who am I?

Dr. Akinbinu stated some things the Rivers United players and coaching crew can truly hold onto and defend their poor display and inability to score goals.

In football, we say possession without penetration yields no goals and while we are at this, let us go back to Akinbinu’s submission in my first three paragraphs.

A man without balls, even with penetration and the full weight of intercourse cannot get a woman pregnant if he has no balls.

That quite sums it up, doesn't it? Now we know why Rivers United have been so shy in front of goal and abject this season on the continent. They have had no balls.

Next week, there will surely be another trending topic in Nigerian football to talk about.




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