Odafe, currently the highest paid footballer in India, with a salary touching about $200,000 USD. He previously played for Mohammedan sporting, Muktijoddha SKC(Bangladesh based club), Churchill Brothers, and is currently playing for Mohun Bagan. His moment of reckoning came when he scored 6 goals in 9-1 win of Churchill brothers against Vasco SC. He scored 94 goals for Churchill in 84 matches, which is an outstanding record.
Now as we all know he has left his Nigerian passport, and would be looking for an Indian passport to make himself available for a country ranked 158th over a country ranked as high as 38th in the FIFA men’s rankings. Obviously he will be an asset for India, if he wears blue jersey, but are we heading to middle eastern nations like Qatar,UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc who depend on Africans and other people from rest of the world (Sebestian Soria, being an exception,mainly there are Africans) who are given incentives to play for these nations for a citizenship( It is very rare to get citizenships in these nations). These nations get gold medals in athletics because of the services of poverty stricken Africans, who were paid huge sums in these nations.
Do we want to read international press headlines that ” Services of paid Nigerian helps India to qualify for Asia cup”? Or we want to read headlines as “Flamboyant Jeje, Jewel Raja sheikh and Raju Gaikwad helps India to qualify for Asia cup”? well, we must understand India is growing rapidly and there will be a lot of criticism if we do not make sane and wise decisions
Coming back to Odafe, he is very aggressive, who reminds me of Didier Drogba and Kanu. Surprisingly if he is granted Indian passport and he makes himself for Indian selection, by wearing the blue jersey, will his patriotism and passion be the same when compared to native born Indian whose position he has taken? We must also think that in a game winning or losing does not matter, it matters how you win. For god sake, we must respect that Indian national football team is an International team, not a club. Our Goal must be a fair and ethical soccer, I would consider it to be cheating if Odafe plays for India, considering the fact he is a Nigerian.
Many European players like Defoe, David James, Glenn Johnson, Mario Bellotli, Romeou Lukaku are definitely NOT European but they were born and brought up in their respective countries so they share a lot of pride in donning the national colors.
With no offence to Odafe fans, and I am sure he has done a lot to Indian football and churchill brothers in particular, he has done gone through tough and torrid times in Bangladesh and has achieved a lot as an Individual. But it is not how many trophies you have in your cabinet but how did you win them is more important.