24th November, 2019
Former national athlete Brown Ebewele on Sunday in Benin said the use of the term “poaching of athletes’’ in Nigerian sports circle is totally wrong.
Ebewele said there is nothing like “poaching’’ but the fact that athletes must move from one place to another ahead of important events such as the 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF).
“Athletes must move for greener pastures. Athletes must move from one place to another.
“In Europe, when you hear of athletes moving from a club or team to another, what do you call it? I think it is called `transfer’. Did anyone call it `poaching’? No,’’ he said.
Ebewele, who is Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Team Edo in the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 20th NSF tagged “Edo 2020’’, said movements and transfers are usual occurrences in sports.
“They (athletes) must move from one place to another. It is normal. They are looking for greener pastures. So, it’s not `poaching’, it’s greener pastures,’’ he said.
The former U.S-based athlete said movements from one team or club to another are crucial in sports, especially in the business aspect of it.
“Part of the business of sports is movement. If you are doing well and you are hot, somebody must come for your services. If the pay is good, you must move.
“As a matter of fact, the best word you can use for it as a sports man is recruitment. When a major tournament is coming like the NSF, states must beef up their teams.’’
He said it must be realised as a fact that athletes have the right to move from one place to another when they are not owned by any body or group.