Investing in CHANGE through SPORTS
By my definition, Sport is anything that stimulates your interest to explore your environment with the resultant benefits to your health.
Sport is one of the most powerful instruments that can be used to bring changes to different facets of the country’s economy and human development. I am not going to be academic about the issue at stake by going straight to what the in-coming sports minister has to deal with to establish a clarity of purpose.
There are three cardinal points that PMB administration should go for; you do not need to bother yourself to do new things, just get back the stolen funds, reestablish the system to make it difficult for people to defraud the nation, then pump the recovered funds to the underdeveloped areas in the economy. Simple! Then subsequent development can be monitored.
You need to understand the complexity of a matter before you can simplify it; such is the case with investing in change through sport. The following are the blueprint for CHANGE.
There are some pending legal matters regarding administrative lawlessness, mismanagement of funds, election malpractices right from COJA, World Cup, NFF election and funding etc. You have to go head on to carry out justice, otherwise the same group of people will turn around to high jack the administration of sport and render your tenure useless. No governor or politician should be allowed to head any federation or sporting Association again.
Staff auditing in the sport ministry is imperative.
We need to state in clear terms what we want to use sport to address in the nation (national policy). This will become our driving force.
We need to establish our funding priority based on the performance of each federation and scientifically proven developmental programme for grassroots sport.
Streamlining sport competitions: We run too many sport competitions in the country that are not relevant to the national objective of sport development. There should be a universal timetable for sport from the national level to the local government. Many of the previous competitions organised across the country did not meet the international standard practice, consequently they have affected the production capacity of our potential athletes.
National University of Sport: The National Institute of Sport should be scrapped. We are ripe enough to have a national university of sport, especially for the purpose of sport research, sport medicine, sport physiotherapy, sport nursing, paramedics, training and development competent administrators. The Nigeria universities have totally alienated themselves from sport development; apart from the fact that I am yet to see any sport research conducted in Nigerian university that is used to develop our athletes; even outside athletes are hired to participate in our tertiary games.
There is no single student in the national teams: whereas I played for Nigeria as a postgraduate student of sport science.
We can convert the dilapidated and abandoned national stadium in surulere, Abuja stadium and others to National University of Sport campuses. It is possible! It will help our revenue generation and human capacity development.
Physical fitness programme and research for our security officers: I was so sad the day I saw five policemen with guns unable to arrest one man! Our police are quick to shoot because they are not physically fit. We can carry out comprehensive Physical/psychological fitness Programme that can help diagnose the mental readiness of our security officers. We need to engage in high level confidential research in this area.
Environmental Determinism; You need a comprehensive knowledge of the geographical distribution of environmentally determined recreational potential across the country (based on my definition of sport) to increase youth participation and talent identification in different sport.
You need a robust knowledge of the economic benefits of sport and how to attract investors to take advantage of this opportunity by partnering with the government to bid for events and also organise profitable events. Nigeria is the only country in the world that organises sporting events at a loss; i.e COJA, our Football league etc.
You should be ready to execute the national policy on sport to the letter. No association/ federation is bigger than our nation. Any association/federation who feels she is not going to be subject to the rules and regulations governing sport in the country should be sanctioned.
12. Youth participation and employment drive: We need to have academies for every game that we take part in Olympics. These will provide jobs for ex-internationals and proper monitoring of the development of every athlete. You have to get sponsorship to run academy competitions.
Revenue Drive: There should be regulatory bodies (presidential council for physical fitness and recreation) for the following; Fitness centres/ gyms, Recreational centres, Staff Clubs, viewing centres (since they refuse to come to the stadium), sport lotteries. (there are other revenue generating system that cannot be discussed in this article), Etc. The business world understands the leverage potential of sport in showcasing their brands, hence, if we are well organised, they will patronise.
Private partnership with PMB administration through sport: Every organisation should have a sport desk manned by ex-internationals and graduates of sport science. Their duties should include among other things, organising weekly fitness exercise for workers, provide adequate and relevant information on sport, health and entertainment and also in advisory capacity for sponsorship.
National Sport Libraries; They should be located in the six geopolitical zones. People have to pay to use it for research and leisure.
17. Soccer agents: All soccer/athlete agents should be registered with the sport ministry. No organisation/ scout can organise any football competition
For the purpose of scouting without the express permission and supervision of the sport ministry and football federation and no player/Athlete can leave the shore of this country without the permission of these bodies. By this we can maintain a good database of our athletes and monitor them.
Insurance Policy: We have to ensure that every active athlete is insured no matter how little.
Budget: We need to know how much we have spent for various competitions for the past 10years so that we can be sure of what we need for future competitions.
We need to know how much we have been collecting as participation fees for various competitions and what have we done with them after collecting budget from the government for the same competition?
The days of 20 players and 50 officials traveling should be over.
Coaches Association and Players Union: The honourable minister may have to set up a strong committee to look into the problems confronting these two bodies. The new national University of Sport will take care of the continuing education for the coaches in different sport.
School curriculum/recreation facilities: Apart from the fact that many schools do not have space to build recreational facilities, they do not even expose the pupils to sufficient periods of recreational activities. Consequently, a lot of children grew up without discovering their sport potential and not only that, later in life these group of people will find it difficult to engage in fitness exercise because it was not part of their adaption ingredient. We need to do something about school curriculum and sport.
Government cannot handoff sport now.
Sport Technology: As a nation, we can no longer wait on NIKE to kit us for competitions. We have to partner with local industries to produce our kits and place high taxes on foreign sport wears and equipment.
National Sporting events: There should be a comprehensive review of our competitions from national sport festival, University games, Polytechnic games, Academicals etc by looking at the economic impact, organizational structure, Funding, how far the objectives have been achieved, we need to revisit the extent of hooliganism during these events.
With well articulated planning, we can integrate every component of this blue print in a coherent and logical way, in order to ensure that we address the challenges in sport effectively. Each component will activate the corresponding component without any recourse to human and material wastages.
• The writer, Adegoke Adelabu, a Sports Scientist, played for then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan and the then Green Eagles of Nigeria.
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