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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here