Even though giving is by choice, many Nigerian fans have wondered why Super Eagles’ stars are not joining the global trend to make donations towards the battle against the coronavirus.
Argentine megastar, Lionel Messi, donated €1m to Barcelona hospital and another hospital in Argentina, Christiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes gave €1m to hospitals in Portugal and in Italy. AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic also donated €100,000 and set up a GoFundMe account to raise money.
The trio are amongst a long list of sports stars who have contributed financially to fight the virus.
Even here in Africa, Liverpool and Senegal striker, Sadio Mane has donated £41,000 (N17million) two weeks ago to a health organization fighting the spread of coronavirus in Senegal.
Back home in Nigeria, individuals and groups have also started making donations, both in money and in medical supplies, towards the fight against the pandemic.
Top financial institutions in Nigeria gave N1bn each to the cause, while also providing facilities for isolation centres.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s top players, seem to be mute about helping to fight the pandemic.
According to a sports enthusiast, Tosin Adesina, the action of the players showed a lack of patriotism on their part.
“We are battling a pandemic and irrespective of how rich the government is, it needs support from external people. We have seen how Dangote and a lot of other people have trooped in to support the government, including religious organisations.
“These footballers were given the leverage to be where they are now by Nigeria to move to their clubs and they fly Nigeria’s flag every now and then, so, they need to give back to their country,” he told The PUNCH.
His view was reechoed by another Nigerian, Dare Adewumi, who said, “It’s never too late to do so because we’re just facing the reality of this deadly virus here.
“Secondly, it’s not by force, but by choice, showing interest in another person’s well-being. Ighalo gave out N5,000 to 10 fans last week but can’t say if it’s a daily thing or one off. If they eventually make donations we’ll thank them and if not, nothing against them.”
“I think its lack of patriotism,” Abraham Elder said. “Giving is actually not a question of how much you offer but the intent. They can agree to give just a little percentage of their allowance (say 10 per cent) each and it will go a long way and in their names. It will be another opportunity for them to put their names on the global map. I have been expecting to hear from the likes of Mikel, Ndidi, Iwobi and the NPFL players as well.”
According to Timilehin Adelugba, some of the Eagles stars have responsibilities of their own to meet.
He, however, still feels some of them who are well paid should be able to make donations.
“Not all of them are really rich like that, so I feel probably they have responsibilities too but nevertheless someone like Ighalo and others in Europe should be able to make donations towards the pandemic because I believe they are well to do,” he said.