By Adeola Aderounmu
I have many friends who played/are still playing professional football around the world. Just yesterday the 25th August one of them came visiting. He left the game a few years ago but we still always talk about the days he played and his short spel as a Super Eagle player.
One of the topics we touched yesterday was how the game remains unpopular in China despite all the big players that have been going there from time to time. He too played in China. We agreed that the factors could be many and some unknown to us. He also mentioned that there is apathy because many Chinese believes that the outcomes of football games are fixed or gambled.
He said after he left China one of the people arrested was the central defender in his former team. He said looking back, the pieces fell in place. He had wondered then how a reliable defender could be making serious errors during the games. But at that time he thought well, it could happen in football. But he knows better now-that his defender was selling the games!
When you look at the commitment and the goal scored by Skrtel against Manchester City you will be convinced that he made a serious mistake when he gave a pass to Tevez instead of his own goalkeeper.
I would really like to see the replay of that error of judgment again. The times I had seen it, what I saw is a player who gave a pass to Tevez probably because that is where he wanted the pass to be. I may be totally wrong-I am just a blogger afterall!
But I did not see a pass going to the goalkeeper who was in his yard or zone.
I did not see what I could call a reliable defender who looked up and gave a pass. He was looking at his feet and the ball before he gave a pass.
I am not making any accusation here. But at the same time I am tired of football outcomes that look like “arranged” or “make believe”.
I am also tired of the Italian approach where everything looks normal and real at the surface only for cans of worms to be opened at the end of the season or few years later. Do Italian fans still believe in their football?
I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and read about the confession of a Liverpool player who sold a match while the fans and spectators where losing their nerves and draining their adrenalin.
It looks like a real mistake to many people and to others it is so silly that would remove the adjectives “experienced” or “reliable” when describing such a defender.
Whatever it was-genuine error or silly back pass, or arranged match-fixing- football, gambling, fixing and controversies will always go together. That’s just the way several businesses are.