On the world stage, we have produced numerous Nigerian born and foreign born soccer players who are being valued by their host countries and some of them even being named African Soccer Player of the year and even had dinner with Presidents, Ministers and Governors of states of their host countries.
Another brain drain for Nigerian Soccer talents – Indonesia already naming 2014 World Cup qualifier team/squad in October 2011 including 2 Nigerians who will be given Indonesian Citizenship, while Nigeria is yet to call their”to be team players” to the camp or decide where the camp will be because we like and cherished fire brigade approach all the time and then expect magic to happen in our favor.
Soccer as well as other sports had been politicized and tribalized. Instead of going for a winning team of players, they always go for:
(1) We have to put some Hausas, Ibos, Yoruba, Fulani, Nupe, Efik, Ibibio origin.
(2) We have to pick the candidate of Sultan, Emir, Oba or King.
(3) We have to pick the youth that helped us campaign and mobilize during election, be it PDP, ACN, CPC or APGA.
(4) We have to get each geo-political zone to be equally represented.
(5) Federal character that is not represented in hiring of people to federal appointments, jobs and ambassadorial slots or federal board membership that can accommodate a lot of people must be reflected in a soccer team of possibly 36 players?
Where is Nigerian soccer of the olden days? I am not talking of Balu Balu ni tafin style against Zammalek of Egypt.
It is high time we woke up and get back to where we belong.
Where are the talent fishers of the old? Even if the talent fishers scout around the country or overseas for seasoned Nigerian players, do they end up finally being selected?
The home grown player can still perform, but are we ready as a government to invest in Soccer as a world sport and other sports as an investment?
When players got wounded, no adequate health care arrangement for them but rather, they are left to their own fate. If then why will they not result to going to another country that will even go to the extent of insuring their legs or arms for millions of dollars?
If we even invite the Nigerian soccer players based abroad to come home to play and carry our national flag, we subject them to a whole lot of conditions and they might even get home and be kidnapped, which has ended up in most of them rejecting the offer.
The last Soccer Women Champion were welcomed at Muritala International Airport by loading them in a trailer. What a National welcome having gone all the way to bring home the trophy!
Where is our investments on Parks and Recreation? No gymnasiums. No Stadia. Most of our stadia and gymnasiums were deserted or had being turned to fish ponds, some filled with tadpoles, some inhabited by goats, and frogs while some are turned to be party grounds for our “owanbe and flamboyant life styles” as that is what we are noted for worldwide. Some portion of some stadia were even encroached and Certificate of Occupancy was even issued by some Governors through the Ministry of Lands and Housing Development or Town Planning. Some stadia were even turned to beer palor and joints for Friday gigs and joints for hooking up with girls of your choice. (Igbadun Unlimited).
We need to go back to the days of having Physical and Health Education teachers in Primary and Secondary School and in our tertiary learning schools, such as Colleges of Education, Universities and Polytechnics.
In addition, we need to start given inducements such as scholarships to kids who excel in any sport activities as is being done in other countries like U.S.A., Britain just to mention a few. Some of the Universities even give a full ride scholarship covering room and boarding but with condition that such student will maintain a 4.0 grade point average which is a win-win situation for all. The child (Free Education and pursuit of sport career at same time. A fulfilled life.), the parents (alleviating their financial burden), the Universities/Colleges (Financial gain from spectators, advertisements by promoters/sponsors and sales of souvenirs) and the Country (National Pride and the talents in turn invest in the country and give back to philanthropic activities and endowment fund raising activities of making the country a better place.).
I hereby make a clarion call on Nigerian government, Minister of Sports and Nigeria Football Association and other sports associations in the country to do what is right for our national sport participation on a global stage as this is not only in Soccer but rather all other games/sports