Flying The Flag
Written by The Final Ball on 4th October 2020
Welcome to The Final Ball Blog! This is where we’ll have weekly a weekly detailed insight into the last week of sport for those of you who just couldn’t live by only listening to us for an hour a week!
Our time has finally come. The one month that allows us to celebrate our people without being questioned. Black History Month (in the UK), is finally here. And it starts as always, with the Independence Day of a country that continues to make noise on a worldwide scale (we are very loud people to be fair), Nigeria has “turned” 60. And it’s got to be said, our people have really being “flying the flag” in terms of success in all walks of life. And as tempted as it would be to deviate, I’m going to try to stick to sports here. So, let’s start with Israel Adesanya, the undefeated UFC Middleweight Champion. Currently on top of the world (only figuratively speaking, he lives in New Zealand) following his recent championship win against Paulo Costa. Just to top that off, his internet spat with Jon Jones brought a comeback that the masses may have seen as crude given the circumstances, but us as Nigerians couldn’t help but smile just for a second. “Your mom would be disappointed in who you’ve become”, it cuts deep even without the fact that Jones’ mum died three years ago. To us as Africans, there’s a sense of pride that honouring your parents gives you and it’s unmatched. It’s not just a simple insult, Jones has to go back home and think about his life. I’m not even sure if there’s a comeback to that.
Quickly touching on the NBA, to see Bam Adebayo be one of the stars of the playoffs has been amazing. He could even claim he’s been the best player for the Heat at times and we hope to see it continue in what is set to be a great battle against AD. Moving onto one of his former opponents, Victor Oladipo stepped up for the Pacers against Miami, and despite the loss, the performances may lead to getting that trade that is currently rumoured in the press. And where there are a few others dotted around various teams, the biggest Nigerian of them all is Giannis Adetokunbo (I didn’t stutter, google it). He may go by the Greek iteration of his name, but as the MVP and Defensive Player of the year, we’re going to shamelessly look past that.
Moving onto football and keeping with the shameless theme, congratulations to Bukayo Saka for getting into the England squad. Yes, this means that he won’t represent the country of his family name, but by carrying the name “Bukayo” alone, there still feels like an element of representation. You hear the name and know exactly where he comes from. He stands for a demographic in the UK that wants to believe that we can make it to the top in our respective fields. After all, isn’t that why our parents came here in the first place? So if for example, Ademola Lookman does well in his loan deal at Fulham and gets the chance to choose between England & Nigeria, I’ll back him either way It’ll be a big challenge, but I hope Bukayo & Tamarebi (What, you thought his name was “just Tammy”?) does us all proud. But let’s also pay homage to the talent that wear the green-white-green (Yes, I’m coming onto the kit), I need Samuel Chukwueze as far away from Unai Emery as possible please. I saw how he treated Iwobi and I’m not trying to experience Deja-vu. He could easily do what Victor Osimhen has done by moving to Napoli (started well there btw) and find a manager that will utilize his talents. Maybe he could join his international teammate, Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester. He would definitely add some pace to that right side and make the position his own. It might add to Ndidi’s workload, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s carried that team (along with Vardy) for a couple years now, which might be what is contributing to his recent injury struggles. At least he has shown that there is promise in his modelling career with the new Nigeria kit! And what a beautiful kit it is. I’m convinced the designer spent more time innovating the “Jacket/Agbada” then the players spent at the last 3 world cups combined. Then again, clothing design has always been our bag.
And lastly, a moment of thought goes towards Thomas Partey. Not for his inevitably failed moved to Arsenal, but for having to relive the flashbacks of the world cup 10 years ago, when he saw Luis Suarez enter the Atletico Madrid changing room last week. Watching the “running through the tunnel” initiation that the team had for Suarez, you couldn’t help but feel that the slap that Partey delivered was about more than “helping him bed in”. In all seriousness, how was Suarez even ended up there??? Do Barca not remember David Villa? On top of that, the treatment of him, considering his standing in the game is appalling. And he just feels like the worst person to wind up. When you think of the type of person that he is, and the things that he’s done (with a variety of body parts), I can’t imagine him taking to kindly to his treatment at Barca, and ending up at Atletico has surely given him a chance to bite back.