Soccer’s in Nigeria
SOCCER IN NIGERIA.
the game of soccer is not a newcomer in Nigeria. Move around the states, on the dusty streets, young lads kill the ball. Most times, the kids turn out for the game in bare feet, with some wearing stuffed stockings for boots to distinguish them from the upstarts. Sadly, Nigeria appears to be the only country where thunder strikes on one spot severally, we dont learn from history. The france team that that conquered the world in 1998 was a team, assembled from the youth competition. After much playing together as a team, they were able to conquer the world. As a result, having won several U17 world cup edition, one expects Nigeria to be flying in such a high altitude in the world of soccer. How the mighty have fallen, many would say, but the truth is that the game has grown, such that no unprepared nation will lift the world cup. It is rather obvious that the meddlesome of some of our policy makers have kept us oscillating in one spot. This is Nigeria a country of many possibilities. In the words of the great novelist, “Sydney sheldon, that say “nothing positive lasts forever. But for most of other soccer nations, it is all about building on the already established successes in the world of soccer because of its economics value. Nations who had the opportunity of hosting any soccer event have always built on such event to expand. For Nigeria, the reverse is the case. In 1973, and likewise in 2003, we hosted all the african games, but our sports administrator have all neglected the sporting facilities put in place during those competition. If truth be said, the dilapidated nature of sporting facilities in the country is a mirror of what Nigeria is today. For most of the soccer administrator in Nigeria, it does not matter the state of the sporting facilities once their offices are intact.
Nigeria has perhaps one of the best records at the U17 cadre, yet only the expectional players actualize their dreams of playing soccers in Europe. These players movement are frequent among those who headed straight to the European market after the world cup feats. The unlucky bunches return to our domestic league to rot out of existance. Our league, instead of being a nursery becomes a dumping ground. Why? Our domestic league is ugly to watch because our stars don’t play there and there is no fixed program for the league. Nigeria has thrown into the lagoon the tradition where our local clubs has national team players. We recall with anguish yesteryear when soccer faithful left their states to watch rangers international Fc of Enugu and the likes, simply because they paraded the bulk of the national team players. Other club teams who were not lucky to have such galaxy of national team players welcomed them to their homes during league games and smiled to the bank after the game, with the stadium filled to capacity. With time, local clubs strove to buy some of the national team players to get the fans to watch them weekly which helped to boost the club’s revenue. Countries measure their growth in soccer by the number of domestic league players in the teams. The ripple effect of this is that the domestic league matches are watched by mammoth crowd weekly, invariably increasing the revenue of the domestic clubs. Many nations have collegiate system which supports certified soccer academics at all levels to groom talents who graduate into the senior team. Our over reliance on new lads from Europe will subject emerging players to sneak out of the country to play for countries of their choose. There is urgent need to fix our domestic league and make them competitive and attractive to foreign firms to partner with us as is obtainable is many other countries. Our league games won’t attract foreigner like we had in the past if we play on almost empty stadium, and can’t offer good money to lure them here.
Moreover, the Atlanta 96 contingent were mostly drawn up from our domestic league. It is rather sickening to note that our domestic league cannot thrown up good players, simply because we have a league body that is indifferent to what happen to the Senior side. The dominant question on the lips of every soccer loving fans is: when will those who know the rudiment of the game be given the opportunity to pilot the affair of Nigeria football?. as we await the time when sport will be handed over to our ex players who have love and passion for the game, for proper growth and development, there is need for our soccer administrator to reinvent those secondary schools competition such as principal’s cup, Governor cup etc. Such remodeled initiative will boost the return of the biannual national sport festival, which must be hosted by the sports ministry not made a political tool by self seeking state governor. Sport cannot thrive in Nigeria without the government intervention. It is her responsibility to provide facilities and create the enabling environment for the Industry to function with the support of corporate bodies. Most of our well known players were not discovered in Europe but by a system of scout in place to scout of talents.
The sporting industry is a goldmine in countries where it is properly administered. In fact some of these countries GDPs are bolstered by the input from the sport men and women. The volume of business from sport towers above what some of them earn.
Soccer cannot thrive in Nigeria with fiscal budgets. We need to adopt with system used by others. Soccer in Nigeria will soar if we tailor it to business, not the patronage to lackeys that currently is across the country. The advantages Nigeria will derive from running soccer like the business that it is endless. If we run soccer in a transparent, business minded way, it will thrive enough to attract juicy corporate sponsorship. This is only achieved if those entrusted with leadership position in soccer become accountable. Let them see soccer as a business in which they are expected to make profit and not charitable homes to be managed at their whims and caprices. Nigeria must sit up and embrace the reality that sports increase the GPD of countries that understand the dynamic of the industry. Most economics of the world, for instance, spain, s growing economy like Nigeria relief greatly on the volume of cash generated from the sports sector.