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Russia 2018, Nigeria sports, funding, NFF: How to achieve great success —Tokunbo Teslim Balogun

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Tokunbo Tesilim Balogun

Nigeria has officially qualified for the World Cup which deserves praise focused towards our players and the officials. However, our work is not over. The coaches, players and supporters need to band together again in order to achieve great success in the upcoming competition in Russia 2018, writes TOKUNBO TESLIM BALOGUN, son of the late Nigerian legendary footballer, Teslim Thunder Balogun, who was first Nigerian footballer to go professional and Nigeria’s team leader to 1968 Olympics games.

A new prospective approach in the organisation, management and funding of sporting activities needs to be applied throughout Nigeria.

The apportionment of the reward money provided to our players after successfully meeting targets within competition should be approached differently. At least 50 per cent of the reward money offered should be considered as part of a Sports Fund. This would be in a single account, where any amount is withdrawn should summon the Sports Administrator or President to ensure the funds are equally replenished. This will serve as a new approach to giving back to the society for further sports development of our young and adults who dream to become future Nigerian stars.

If we continue to lavishly pay all reward money to accomplished athletes, there would be insufficient funds remaining to offer to our aspiring young athletes.

Therefore, the culture of reward overspending on sporting personnel could be reduced, with the intention of raising money for sports development in the country. This additional saved funding would offer greater sports sponsorship appeal to organisations, businessmen and women, governments and philanthropies with the hope of giving back to Nigeria through the development of sporting activities in the country.

Football clubs should increase the salaries of their players and produce junior teams, and women teams. In addition, the Nigerian Professional Football League tagged “Naija League” should be bid on and sponsored by companies and organisations within the country and abroad, if necessary. This is an attempt to transform the professional league into a powerful league in Africa. With future sight to compete with the best funded top leagues around the world like in England, Spain, and Italy. We now should start to find ways to generate funds for all sports to develop athletes in other sports such as athletics, hockey, horse racing, golf, fencing, swimming, wrestling, boxing, basketball, rowing,baseball, tennis and table tennis etc., like Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to develop future talents for national and international stage competitions. A wake-up call for changes in sports administration in the country is necessary for the wake of the inadequate performance of our athletes in only nine sports in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, April 2018 at Gold Coast in Australia, as well as many past years of previous competitions.

This move can be achieved within a few months in some states: This initiative is for all Nigerians to have the freedom to effectively participate in all sports of their choice, equipping athletes with good facilities and early preparation for future competitions. The move could create a wealth of job opportunities around the country, increasing tax revenue for the states. We will employ athletes in all sports including trainers, coaches, and sports advisers. This will be complemented by local sports journalists, television broadcast stations, local newspapers in a few local languages and websites. In turn, this will provide our athletes with the relevant publicity to encourage performance improvement gaining national and international recognition and exposure.

ALSO READ: 44 years on: Thunder Balogun, his skills, net-breaking ‘thunderous’ shot — Son, Tokunbo, tells the legendary footballer’s story

Pessimists may deem this move is impossible: However, I remember the late Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo who said during the 1979 democratic elections that education will be free at all levels. Almost 65% of Nigeria’s population polled in disagreement stating that free education at all levels could not be achieved. Nevertheless, in six states of the federation whereby students in primary, secondary and high-level education received free education with free books including bursaries for tertiary institutions.

Sports are coming to promote your physical, mental and social health anywhere you may reside. To increase Nigerian participation in all sports to represent the country in national and international competitions such as All African Games, Olympic Games and World Championship Games, moreover, to win medals and to host these competitions in the nearest future.

We want to make Lagos state and Nigeria a paradise of sports, culture and business: Athletes should be placed on a life insurance scheme that shall guarantee their families financial security if any issues arise later in life. The insurance scheme will provide a lump sum amount paid to settle them with a financial running start for their new life. This could be implemented once an athlete begins playing or working for the club or organisation. Where 3% – 5% from their monthly salary is transferred into a protected account and the club or the government may match this percentage to make it a 6% – 10% monthly contribution in total, and many more ideas.

I know Nigerians are ready for active participation in all sports if the opportunities are available for them in any competitions in the world without anyone denying us. Lastly, I know we shall win and we are confident in the victory to convince prominent Nigerians to fund sports development in the country.

The post Russia 2018, Nigeria sports, funding, NFF: How to achieve great success —Tokunbo Teslim Balogun appeared first on Tribune.

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