Aliko Dangote, Forbes richest man in Africa and Nigerian rapper MI Abaga have endorsed a book that traced the history of Nigerian football to Calabar in Cross River State.
The book, ‘A study of heroes and epics: the history of football in Nigeria (1904-1960)’, released in June, was written by Wiebe Boer, a researcher and energy investment expert.
With a foreword by former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, the book traced the journey of football from the 19th century.
Boer recorded that the first football match to be recorded was played on June 15, 1904 in Calabar.
Boer, who was the pioneer CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), used research to trace Nigeria’s political development and its intricacies woven into the national sport of soccer from its earliest days.
He studied the nuances of each administration, colonial and post colonial, alongside delving into the nature of the people as only sports can reveal.
The book highlights the journey of nationhood from prior 1914 through the amalgamation, two nation states fused as one and the role football played in its integration.
In a note published in the book, Dangote said, “As a businessman, I have always appreciated Nigeria in its entirety and viewed our diversity as an asset.
“Sadly, this unified view of Nigeria in all its richness is not taught widely enough or observed in other sectors of society.
“I am therefore very pleased to see that in this deeply researched book on the history of football in colonial Nigeria, Dr. Boer has worked painstakingly to tell a positive and unifying story of Nigeria.
“One that focuses on what we have in common and what makes us collectively great as a nation,” Dangote said.
Also, MI, the CEO of Chocolate City Music and award winning rapper praised the Boer for providing a deep understanding of football history and its role as a unifying factor in Nigeria.
“He ( Boer) has brought his unique approach to this amazing book and readers will put it down with a renewed sense of what unites us as Nigerians and Africans.
“As a fiercely passionate Nigerian and an avid football fan, I had never connected these two elements.
“But reading this book I developed a deeper understanding of my history, and a clearer vision of how we can continue to grow together,” MI said.
NAN reports that Boer’s book was also endorsed by Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Bolaji Abdullahi, Former Minister of Sports and Youths Development.
Pinnick and Abdullahi contributed notes to the book where they urged Nigerians to study Boer’s thesis as a way to understand the importance of football to the country.