Nigeria taking part in sports for fun of it – Onigbinde

Former Super Eagles coach Festus Onigbinde believes a lack of developmental policies is undermining the growth of Nigerian sports.

The former Fifa and Caf instructor feels Nigeria is only participating in international competitions for fun without a clear vision for the growth of sport.

In football, Nigeria endured mixed fortunes last year, failing to qualify for the Olympic Games and recorded abysmal performances in the Wafu tournament, with its only respectable showing being the Super Eagles’ third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Onigbinde, who guided the three-time African champions to the 2002 World Cup, feels Nigeria is not doing enough to develop Sports in the country.

The 82-year-old cited Denmark as an example of a country who is investing in sports, as the Danish football authority has put in plans to use virtual fan technology when their league resumes on Thursday evening behind closed doors.

“In some of these countries, the level of technology is much higher than what we have here and that will eventually have some effects,” Onigbinde told Sahara Reporters.

“It appears that we are helpless. Are we making any effort? I was reading this afternoon of a country making efforts to use technology for cheering during games. Do we have that type of technology here? The coronavirus has affected and will continue to affect our sports for some time.

“The greatest challenge of sports in Nigeria is development. We don’t have a developmental programme, we are just taking part in sports for the fun of it.

“For those who are directly involved, it’s for what they can get from it — no developmental programme. Even in the private life of an individual, if you are in a business and you are not developing that business, what will happen? It will fold up and that is the situation with Nigerian sports.

“Things were better in the past but all we think of now is competition, to take part and organise whereas competitions are like examinations in schools. Why does a teacher set up exams? He wants to know how much the students have learned.

“If you are organising competitions in sports, what are you assessing? What have you put into this performance? I maintain that the greatest problem of sports in Nigeria is a lack of development, we are not developing sports.”

Nigeria have never played in the quarter-final stage of the World Cup, with its best performances being the 1994, 1998 and 2014 editions, where they reached the Round of 16.

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