Nigerian sports must go back to grassroots sports development where youthful talents are identified and nurtured to stardom if the country is to reclaim its lost glory in the Olympics, the Zonal Coordinator, National Sports Commission (NSC) North West Zone, Dr Ademola Are has said.
Nigeria was unable to return with any medal from the recently concluded London 2012 Olympics despite partaking in eight events with over 40 athletes but Are said grassroots sports development and planning would restore the status of the country in sports.
Are want the NSC and Sports Minister to revisit and implement the abandoned reports by various sports committees if the country wants to go back to the winning ways in football competitions and other international multi sports competitions.
“Youth tournament is the only way Nigeria can get back its lost glory. In the last Olympics, we have 19, 20 year old athletes winning medals and Nigeria can do the same but the federal Government will have to spend on youth development. USA, United Kingdom and South Korea are already planning for Rio Olympics in 2016.
“We know where the problems are, we have committees reports that are gathering dust, are we saying they are not good. Implement the committee reports and do things the way we have been doing it and there would be difference,” Are said.
“We have just discovered 25 U-15 players from a tournament we organised in Kaduna we can put these boys together and in two years nobody will beat us in football but we concentrate much ready made materials which bring age cheating and that does not work for us.”
He said the overdependence on mature players and athletes by the various sports federations for local and international competitions instead of youth prospects is what led Nigeria to this parlous state in sports while adding that Nigeria have to go back to the basics including primary and secondary schools to discover talented and truly young athletes that would make the nation proud.
Filed Under: Sports