ABEOKUTA – Ogun state government has been advised to cease from running of the state-owned football club, Gateway United, and concession it for a Public-Private driven initiative.
A sports administrator and founder, MATICO Sports Foundation, Mr. Oluwaseun Adebowale told journalists in Abeokuta on Sunday that if governor Dapo Abiodun is desirous of positive results for the football club, he should allow private partnerships to take over the management of the football club.
The student of Joan Cruyff’s Institute of Sports, Netherlands said the success story of Remo Stars Football Club in the last six years is a typical example of how a football club should be run.
“Sport is a political tool for any government to empower the youths. If state governors want development for football clubs, they need to hands off management of football clubs in Nigeria.
“The NFF has a duty in this regard. They need to appeal to the state governors to hand off at least 50% on a five to 10years development plan. I must give kudos to Chief Kunle Soname of Remo Stars Football Club. He has shown typical ways of sports management. If we have the likes of Kunle Soname in this country, many state-owned football clubs would have been disbanded.
“On Gateway United FC, the government must deliberately hand off the management of football and sports management in the state. I know the governor is a sports loving governor, but Gateway United should be run with Public Private Partnership. It shouldn’t be job for the boys any longer. It should be strictly business.”
Speaking on the loss of form and poor performance of Nigerian players after excelling at the Under age competitions, the Committee Secretary for Gateway Games 2006 attributed win at all cost syndrome by the Nigerian Football Federation through age cheating to the low development growth of Nigerian players abroad.
He urged the new board of the Nigeria Football Federation to de-emphasize winning at all costs at the age group tournaments, but rather, make an exposure for the players and developmental system for the youths.
“Nigeria is a low earn country for players, that’s why most of our best players in the Nigerian Leagues seek greener pastures after a season. The NFF should emphasize winning at all costs at the age group level. No country in Europe wants to win U-17, they don’t lay emphasis on winning, but to give the players exposure. It should be strictly a developmental programme. How can you win U-17 competitions and five years after none of the players make the U-23 team? It is a sad development.”
He, however, enjoined the new NFF Chairman, Abdullahi Gusau to put in place mechanism to streamline Nigerian leagues and ensure the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) gets TV sponsor right so as to return fans to the stadia.