7th July, 2010
The newly elected President of the Rotary Club of Ilupeju and Principal, Nigeria Model High School, Idi-Oro, Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Kunle Labinjo, has called on President Jonathan Goodluck to beam his searchlight on Nigerian sports in order to sanitise the sector.
Dr. Labinjo, who described the recent Federal Government clampdown on Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and the ban of the countryâ€™s national teams from the international scene as a right step (the FG has since rescinded the decision), said probing of sports administrators in the country becomes necessary in the light of what happened in South Africa in the ongoing 2010 World Cup.
Labinjo reckons that this will help correct the ills in the football sector. He said: â€œIt seems to me that Nigeria football, especially as relates to the Super Eagles, has been an avenue for stealing money and if the government does not do anything now the stealing is going to continue.â€
The educationist is of the opinion that the present state of the countryâ€™s football is a case of diminishing returns.
â€œWe have been throwing money into it for such a long time and it has become saturated.â€
On the present crop of players in the Super Eagles, the Rotarian said: â€œThey have got to the point where the desire to display their skills for the country is not there anymore. They are not hungry. We should look at the Ghanaian and Cameroonian players and look at the Nigerian players; you would see that there is complacency in the Nigerian players. They donâ€™t see any reason why they should stretch themselves. Maybe if we focus on the home-based players we can get new stars.
â€œIf we must probe, we must probe why coaches are accused of collecting bribe before fielding players, why money voted for football is going to menâ€™s football alone. You need to probe why we need a gang of members of the House of Representatives to go to South Africa to say they are watching football at the expense of the country and how players who are not fit were invited. In fact, the probe needs to go beyond the football house; you need to probe the administration of sports.â€
He added: â€œLook at Taekwondo, at the last Olympics in Beijing, China, Chukwumerije struggled and won a bronze medal. In other countries, you would have started an academy whereby you will groom those to take over from Chukwumerije. By international standards, Chukwumerije is not a young player any more, you have to start grooming young ones from 13 to 15. I was a taekwondo fighter in the UK and I can tell you that you start grooming boys from eight because their bodies are still soft.â€