“Zanza is the captain, onye isi game” was a song we sang in the village as kids in primary school. My position was 9 ( I was bad on it!). But it was immaterial; every kid knew we could play like “Zanza”. Zanza was Philip Osondu, one of Nigeria’s most talented footballers. He was the captain and he was “onye isi game” [the leader of a football game]. Philip Osondu died a few months ago. He was a force in Canada’87 and Saudi ‘89 when the world thought a new Pele was born.
Though born in Aba,Abia state, a parent was from a neighboring village to Ovim, Ahaba Imenyi. Zanza was rising in the shadows of Kelechi Emeteole (the caterpillar for his defensive style). Emeteole who hailed from another neighboring village, Amiyi Obilohia, later became a successful coach. But Osondu was ruined – he signed bad contracts and “lost” Nigeria and his career. It was after his contract that the then-Nigeria Football Association set up a process to review foreign contracts offered to Nigerian players!
Zanza, buru ba – [score the goal by dribbling past players and goalkeeper] remains a song whenever a kid could accomplish that on a pitch. But Zanza has another modern version: Lionel Messi, the GOAT (greatest of all time) who plays for Barcelona FC.
Yes, Messi cannot leave because Barcelona and La Liga had put a clause on him at €700 million. Of course, no one will pay that on an aging player! So, Messi has no option but to remain in Spain: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that is impossible….”, Messi noted.
Messi’s attempt to leave Barcelona created unprecedented panic in Spain. Both the club and the league were going to lose staggering amounts of money in TV rights and sponsorship deals, and the only way to avert that is to stop Messi from leaving. So they teamed up to pull the €700 million clause on him knowing that only the court can say otherwise.
Sure, I do acknowledge that Messi’s case is not as bad as Osondu’s since the main issue here is date.
LaLiga have been forced to issue a statement outlining their stance on the battle between Barcelona and Lionel Messi. The Argentine has made it clear that he wants to leave this summer and believes he can walk away for nothing. That is due to a clause in his contract which he believed would allow him to terminate his deal and leave on a free transfer….The league state that his current contract is valid until the end of 2020/21 and that the only way for him to exit will be if his release clause is met.
Comment: The two players had different situations, Osondu signed a bad contract while Messi had a very good contract. 700m euros was already on his contract and a clause was added to allow him leave for free at end of each season- what a luxury! He tried to use this but Barcelona interpreted it differently since a date of 31.05.2020 was stated on the contract as deadline for this clause. Thanks for the Info on Zanza
Response: It is a good contract because Messi made money. But if Barcelona forced Messi to pay after the end of the season because of Covid-19 and yet did not allow the release date to change, that was a bad work from his lawyers. You cannot shift playing days without changing the contract necessitating those games. Every club automatically adjusted to ensure season was completed. But this contract was frozen. Sure, Osondu and Messi are poles apart but they are united by one thing: bad lawyers. “Should Messi be forced to play after May 31 of every year, the validity of this contract is automatically extended at his discretion” would have done it, if inserted.