• Akpoborie advices govt to hands-off sports management
Former Super Eagles coach, Christian Chukwu, has advised the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF), to use the exit of the Super Eagles, U-20 and U-17 teams ouster from next year’s Africa championships, as an eye opener to get the Eagles ready for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, slated to begin across Africa later this year.
Chukwu, who submitted that the exit of the teams from the Africa championship next year was a big blow for the country, stated that the NFF needed to start early arrangements to ensure Nigeria get the World Cup ticket .
He noted that the Super Eagles quest to qualify for the world football showpiece should be taking with all seriousness, as the Eagles failure to a book a place in the tournament would be disastrous for the country.
The erstwhile Harambee Stars of Kenya coach urged the NFF to put up a standard frame work that will guide the Super Eagles come out successful in the qualifier series, adding that Nigeria football will continue to grow if the right steps are taken to manage affairs of the national teams. “The exit of the Super Eagles, U-20 team, Eaglets from next year’s AFCONs is a big blow to the country. NFF should use this as a lesson to work out modalities for the Eagles to have a well tailored programme for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The federation has to be on its toes to avoid another embarrassment. They should focus their attention on making sure the Eagles qualify for the World Cup,’’ he said
Meanwhile, former Super Eagles striker, Jonathan Akpoborie, has warned that except the government leaves the matter of sports management to private entities that the nation will have nothing to show for its activities in the sporting world for some time to come.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Akpoborie said that the main reason for the failure of the nation’s various teams not qualifying for next year’s AFCONs, has always been the paucity of fund, which has been the reason we have not able to prepare well.
“Our inability to qualify for any of these CAF’s organised championships boils down to lack of preparation. I think a time has come when the government needs to give way for individuals with the knowledge of sports management to take charge. Someone who can approach the corporate bodies for them to give back to the society whatever they may have made as profit in doing business in the nation.
“The reason why these corporate bodies have not shown interest is because of government’s continual involvement in sports administration. Then how do expect these bodies to start competing with the government that gave them the licence to operate in the first place?”
The former Golden Eaglet star, who said that preparation has never been smooth when national teams prepare for any major competition, said that the reason why the English Premiership is thriving is because the management of the League is outside government’s control. “English Premiership is thriving because government in Britain has no control over it, likewise in other developed world. And that is why you could see corporate bodies falling over one another in trying to be the one in control of sponsorship in any sport. But in Nigeria, government does not give them the platform to plough back whatever gain they made over the years into the society,” he said.
Akpoborie, however added that it is only when the government hands off and the corporate bodies take charge of sponsorship that the nation can now begin to talk about putting the right person there. “By the time the government no longer has control over sports, then that is when we can now begin to talk about having the right person devoid of government interference any appointment as to who should be there to represent it or not,” he concluded