HOW PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL KNOCKED OUT BALOGUN AND ANYIAM FROM NIGERIA’S TEAM

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

In October 1959, Tesilimi Balogun and Dan Anyiam, both star players, had to miss qualifying matches for the 1960 Olympic Games.

Nigeria were drawn with Ghana and Egypt. Balogun had visited the United Kingdom in 1955 and played as a professional for Peterborough United, Skegness Town, Q.P.R. and Holveach United before returning in 1957 as a coach in Western Region.

Dan Anyiam, who was coaching the national team, had been to United Kingdom in 1952 where he studied Football Coaching and Physical Education.

Since the NFA had no provisions for professionals, Balogun was reinstated as an amateur.

But FIFA ruled in accordance to its statues that both Balogun and Anyiam were ineligible to feature in the Olympics.

In the case of Anyiam, posers were raised as he was in U. K. for studies.  In the previous games, the IOC had allowed Karim Babs Olowu, a professional Physical Education instructor, to feature in athletics.

The limited number of competitions stalled the march to professionalism. In fact Allen argued in 1953 that Nigeria did not possess enough skilful players to form and sustain more than four professional clubs, which would fold up due to dearth of competitions and monotonous fixtures.