By Akinwale Kasali
The National Sports Festival that is usually used to test and discover talents and future sportsmen and women for the nation from the grassroots is gradually becoming history.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, this competition was always an avenue for scouting of athletes for the nation, in which Sports men and women like Mary Onyali, Sunday Bada, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Stephen Keshi, Christian Chukwu and the likes were discovered, but, years down the line, the nation is gradually allowing this legacy go into extinction.
This is however having a toll on grassroot sports in the nation.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ramond International Football Club and Academy, Oluwaremilekun Oluwatosin Adebanjo, has faulted and criticised the Minster of Sport and Youth Development, Dare Esan, for neglecting Grassroot Sports Development, which has over the years been the scouting scene for the nation in the sporting circle.
Adebanjo said that different Ministers have been coming on board with different agenda and policies not minding what the agenda of their predecessors was. Instead of continuing the agenda to achieving the same goal, they neglect that by coming up with what he termed ‘Elephant Projects’ that wouldn’t come to reality till they leave the office.
He stressed that grassroot sports Development should be given more focus and attention at all times for the nation sports to move forward.
“As a Minister of Sport, he ought to know all the Football Academies registered in Nigeria and proper monitoring should be done as regards that, knowing their growths and how they could help in developing the nation. Not only football, but all sports.
“If something like this is put in place, all the corrupt coaches in the national team, most especially Age Grade national team coaches who usually collect bribe and inducement by selecting players that rub their palms would be stopped.
“By so doing, the Minister already have a monitoring team that is familiar with the Clubs and this will help in choosing players on merit and abilities not through bribes”.
He also stressed that building of sports centers for grassroot sports Development is necessary and proper maintenance of this will help is developing sports and scouting of talents would be easier.
Adebanjo added that the Sport Minister needs to be more proactive if he wants to succeed in office, but must first and foremost make sure that grassroot sports Development is looked into and giving more attention because they are the future of the nation’s sport, who will hoist the nation’s flag in global competition and championships.