He said that Nigeria's sports ministry should be separated from other ministries in order for it to move forward and poignantly stated that Nigerians don’t put any pressure on authorities and those that manage sports in the country.
“I was lucky to play from youth to the national team. As a child growing up in Lagos, we had a lot of youth tournaments. We had inter street games; amateur games, although there was no structure. Now it is worse because you don’t have such competitions any more.
However, he pointed out that sports is now commercial enterprise.
"The Western world is serious, investing billions in sports. We cheat to win. You take a 30-year old man, shave his beard and powder his face then put him to play against kids and we win – they laugh at us because when our ‘U-17s’ were supposed to mature to senior players, they are finished; they grow into oblivion. “So, from where are you going to get players for the senior team? That is why our senior national team has been struggling since 1998, after the Okocha era.
“We do not have a development programme. Everything revolves around government. If government has to be in charge, it has to separate sports from the other ministries. Sports should be distinct. You don’t have to treat sports the same way you handle the affairs of Ministry of Environment, for instance. Sports is now. Money for preparation of athletes has to be released without subjecting such funds to bureaucratic bottleneck, or wait for passage of budget by the National Assembly. Athletes must be prepared for at least four years and it is a continuous process.”
He called on stakeholders and Nigerians generally to start asking pertinent questions from relevant sports ministries and agencies like the NFF and so on.
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