By Hassan Sanusi
Ruby Igwe, late Amaka Igwe‘s daughter, has penned an open letter to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, who lost the bid to land a stake in Arsenal Football Club in 2010 but revealed recently that he is still interested in buying the club at a price the current owners won’t be able to resist.
Read her open letter below…
Dear Mr. Dangote.
Of course you should buy the Gunners. It’s a sound investment to invest in football, I think financially. And of course in terms of reputation, having a stake in a club is epic. And of course you have the cash. That’s indisputable. However, I have two propositions for you.
Please buy Manchester United instead. Just because.
If you don’t want to, that’s fine. But if you have change, after the Gunners, invest in the football in Nigeria. I can assure you that it’s not only in the UEFA Champions League, or the English Premier League, or La Liga, or Bundesliga, that you will find good soccer. What these leagues have in common is solid financial backing, and solid infrastructure. They have created an internationally celebrated, culturally appreciated, economically viable system.
As such, I find solace in my red Man Utd shirt. I watch David de Gea‘s saves in awe, and I want very much to go to Old Trafford. I feast on the history and the statistics that I find about George Best and Alex Ferguson and David Beckham, and I can’t count how many times Manchester United has broken my heart.
If you invest in the football in Nigeria, maybe people will feel the way they feel about Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United; about Enyimba. Maybe my mates will make good money playing for Nigeria’s local and national teams. Maybe watching football and sports live in Lagos and Lafia will become a favourite past time. Maybe we will know more Nigerian players by name and not because of what non-national club they play for.
Maybe there won’t be that much traffic every time in Lagos because the stadiums will be packed full. Maybe the clothing and manufacturing industries will be revived by making jerseys and other memorabilia. Maybe students can find modes of expression and survival in sports in general, instead of trying to conform to what they are not.
So Sir. Please do Nigeria a favour and invest in the infrastructure of our football. Invest in change. Don’t just donate, in case it becomes pocket-oriented. Don’t make a local investment. Go hard. Go national. Consult people, including football fanatics, and layout a battle plan. Invest in our football and follow your investment until you see the sizeable returns that can and will actualize. Invest in generations to come.
Nigeria will thank you.
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