“I am telling you, this final is ‘under 2.5 goals e sure me die”…those were the words of my friend Wale on the eve of the Champions league final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, as he was scrolling through the numerous betting sites on his phone. I was like Wale has come with his bets again. That night he staked 1500 Naira on the champions league final and a host of other matches. On Sunday morning ,I woke up to hear “e don enter” from Wale who had just won a sum of 350,000 Naira. I didn’t hesitate to join in the celebrations saying “I knew you would win”, saying so to secure my own share of his winnings 😂, after several failed attempts by friend to win which has led to him breaking down a couple of times and knowing the amount of money he has spent, even going as far to use his faculty dues to bet.
Wale joins a million other youths who have turned to sports betting as a way of getting extra cash or as a means to blow by force (get rich mentality).
Many consider it as a past time because legislation backs it. The rich gamble to get richer and the poor gamble to run away from the strings of poverty. There is no smell associated with it neither does it leave any trail on their body but it’s the trait that runs in their blood. The habit which in turn turns to addiction makes life worthless without it. Such is the life of a gambler. Until recently pool staking and lottery aka Baba Ijebu were the popular gambling systems known to Nigerians, then came sports betting as result of Nigerians love for foreign clubs, here punters predict sport results especially soccer and stake their hard earned money on it.
There are two sides to a sports bet it’s either you win or you lose your bet, or in local parlance ‘your slip cut’ ‘e don cast’ or ‘e don enter’. Some terms in soccer bets are 1(straight win for the home team), X (straight draw), 2 ( straight win for the away team), 1X( win or draw for the home team , X2( win or draw for the away team) and a host of other options. To know potential winning, you multiply the odds for all the matches with the money you have staked. Sports betting is loaded with risks, for example, a multiple bet involving 15 matches, before one can win, all the matches must be go as the bet has been predicted, should 14 be correct and 1 one short, then the bet is lost.I have heard people lose millions and people also winning millions.
In the long run the bookmakers(betting companies) tend to generate up to 50 million naira monthly and use between 5-20 million Naira monthly to pay winners, it has become a lucrative industry. So why the rise in the rate of sports betting in Nigeria especially amongst youths, whether it is causing more harm than good to the society and the youths in particular is a matter of opinion. Many will attribute it to massive unemployment in the country. Some will say it has done good, it may be risky but it is also rewarding, imagine using 200Naira to win 1 million Naira.
Some people have used their winnings to start up businesses. About 60 million Nigerians place bets on different matches daily across the country. It has greatly reduced the lure of youths getting themselves in criminal activities but the bad side to this is what happens when that person doesn’t win he resorts to stealing or getting the money under false excuse. I personally stake bets but I don’t see it as a do or die affair, I do it for fun and stake what I can afford to lose, not as if your life depends on it.
It has created employment especially for the shop attendants who receive and place bets on behalf of people who still do not trust the online space enough at the various shops nationwide and has continued to generate revenue for government. The lottery industry has become a huge employer of labour through the licensing of several betting companies.
There are several betting platforms like Bet9ja, Nairabet, Merrybet,1960bet and several others. Sports betting has spread like wildfire, every where you go you are bound to see a betting shop, an advert of bookmakers, the bookmakers are now sponsoring clubs so you can imagine the temptation for youths.
Although there are various debates over the advantages and disadvantages of sports betting but the truth is that is is gradually becoming a cankerworm eating deep into the fabric of our society. It has tremendously promoted laziness among youths, blurred dreams and fueled desire for quick money thereby degrading education and apprenticeship to its minimum value. It also causes health problems,because after staking their bets, you see them constantly checking live scores every minute just to see the scores and in the long run giving themselves high blood pressure. But avenues must be created for youths to engage in productive ventures as this is the only true way they can be discouraged from their betting that subsequently ruin individual and family values.
The major religions Christianity and Islam frown against gambling in all forms because they believe the evil in it supersede any good you can think it has. Although there is no record of suicide because of loss from betting but the possibility is high as prolonged depression can cause suicide. It kills creativity among our youths, because come to think of it if people like Mark Zuckerberg was using his time to search for the best betting site, there wouldn’t have been Facebook and if Bill Gates was busy gambling away his life there will be no Microsoft.
However, despite the obvious negativity of sport betting and the huge risks involved in it, most unemployed and underemployed youths in the country still find succor in it as it remains a promising venture whose lure is irresistible. If you think you are an avid fan and yet haven’t placed a bet before, you probably miles behind.
In the space of seven days, we have lost legends in their own right, the ‘greatest’ boxer ever Muhammad Ali and unarguably the best local football coach ever in Nigeria Stephen Keshi.
Muhammad Ali greatness transcended beyond his sport boxing, as he was also a human rights activist. He passed away at the age of 74 on Friday after his long running battle with Parkinson’s disease. He had a career record of 56 wins and 5 losses, and attributed some of his wins to getting inside the opponents’ head with his unparalleled trash talk. As widely known for his quick skills and moves inside the ring, the man formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr was also known for several inspiring and quite hilarious quotes attributed to him over the years. My favorite ten quotes of his are contained below;
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s a opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.impossible is nothing.”
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky, my name not yours. My religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said,’Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
“I done wrested with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”
“I am so fast that last night I turned off the light switch and was in bed before the room was dark.”
“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and didn’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to me or of me.”
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted thirty years of his life.”
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Rest in peace, Ali.
The legendary Stephen Keshi nicknamed ‘the big boss’ for his leadership skills, born on January 23, 1962. He hailed from Oshimili North in Delta state. He had 64 caps and scored 9 goals for Nigeria. A man who brought much joy to Nigerians, I can still remember how happy I was when Nigeria won the AFCON In 2013. An AFCON (Africa cup of nations) winner both as a coach and as a player in 1994 and 2013 respectively, becoming only the second person to achieve this rare feat in Africa with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary. He also matched the feat achieved by a foreign coach as the only local coach to guide Nigeria into the round of 16 at the World Cup. Also the only man to have guided two African teams to the World Cup, Togo and Nigeria. He also coached Mali. I remember while he was the coach of Nigeria, many people were asking for him to be fired, but now they are now paying glowing tributes to him. I guess he had to die to be valued.
He had earlier lost his wife of 35 years in December last year due to cancer related problems. He passed away at the age of 54 in the early hours of Wednesday in Benin city. Adieu the ‘Big Boss’.
So the Euro 2016 kickoffs on Friday, at least some good football, after waking up in the middle of the night just to catch some matches at the boring ongoing Copa America centanario. The big question on every one’s lips is whether Messi can finally claim the Copa America and also at the Euros whether France can win the title on home soil or whether Spain can defend their trophy.
Well that’s all I have for now have a wonderful rest of the week, till we see again.