Sports stakeholders accuse governments of undue attention to football

| February 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

SOME stakeholders in Nigerian sports have accused the country’s governments of paying more attention to football to the detriment of other sports.

They said that because of the special attention given to football, government was not paying adequate attention to the development of other sports.

They, therefore, called on the government at all levels to give equal attention to all sports.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Wednesday in Lagos, they said that the declining fortunes of other sports would continue if nothing were done.

According to the Director of Sports, Kogi State Sports Council, Joel Abu, the attention being paid to football by governments was responsible for the ‘royal attention’ the sport was receiving in the country.

He said that football was enjoying the support of the governments and that was why it was taking as much as three quarters of the budget while other sports suffered.

“While football is gaining promotion, the other sports are being neglected. We at the grassroots are appealing to governments to redress this imbalance for other sports to be promoted,’’ Abu said.

Edo State Director of Sports, Edo

Godwin Okute, said that football was a sport with just a gold medal at multi-sports event, while a sport like swimming could give a country many medals.

He added that the government should re-focus on other sports, so that the country could win more medals at major games like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

To Joe Mensah, a former Lagos State amateur boxing chief coach, it was disheartening that football was given more votes, while ‘other sports are left to fend for themselves.’

He said that as result of this, some athletes were abandoning their sports for football, so as to profit from the largesse being extended to footballers.

According to Mensah, if one quarter of the money being spent on football were expended on other sports, many of them would thrive in the country.

A member of Nigeria’s Los Angeles 1984 Olympic boxing team, Jeremiah Okorodudu, also criticised the undue recognition accorded football over other sports and called for a change in sports policy.

“Although this is because the passion for football in Nigeria is high, but Nigerians can derive passion too from other sports, if well packaged and sponsored.

“In the past, we used to dominate in boxing, table tennis and badminton in Africa, but all this is going down because the National Sports Commission places more premium on football,’’ Okorodudu said.

Augustine Gompil, a basketball coach from Plateau State, described the situation as pathetic and called for equitable treatment for all sports.

“Basketball, like other sports, enjoy good followership in Nigeria; if there is better package and support at the state levels we will dominate the African scene,’’ Gompil said.

On his part, the Lagos State assistant Squash coach, Seun Peters, also called on the Federal Government to consider other sports and show the necessary support for them to bring honours to the country.

“We have good followership in squash as well, although not comparable to football. We want things to change as the future of Nigeria’s sports does not lie in football alone,’’ Peters said.

“I am not saying that government should not promote football, but it should not neglect other sports, because they have comparative advantages over football in some ways,’’ Mensah said.

“Nasiru Mohammed, the chairman, Lagos State Fives Association, said that government efforts should be geared toward reviving sports at the grassroots rather than promoting only football.

“Most sports can also enjoy large followership too, if they are equally promoted,’’ he said.

Defending the attention to football, however, former Super Falcons Coach, Paul Hamilton, said that football was a force to reckon with all over the world and Nigeria should not be an exception.

But he advised government to ensure other sports were given equal rights, especially at the grassroots for them to grow.

“Football is given prominence all over the world and that is why it has a large followership, but government should ensure that all sports are given equal rights to excel,’’ Hamilton said.

Culled from :Here

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Category: Sports