Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Afcon - Supporters Club to Cheer Super Eagles to Victory

Johannesburg — Supporters from various parts of the world, mainly from Nigeria are in South Africa to cheer the Super Eagles to victory at the ongoing Nations cup.

One of such supportes is Mr Okey Emuchay, the Consul-General of the Nigeria High Commission in South Africa advocated a return to the grassroots in redeveloping the country's sports sector.

The consul-general made this during a courtesy call on him by members of Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, led by its President-General, Dr Rafiu Oladipo on Monday in Johannesburg.

Emuchay said that the neglect of sports at the grassroots had brought 'untold setbacks' to the development of sports in the country.

Emuchay said that some schools in the country were teaching sports on blackboards, rather than on the field of play because many of the schools lacked sports grounds.

"Sport is physical, so I wonder how a talented athlete can be developed through blackboard coaching in the classrooms," he said.

"Some talented athletes who were made at home or abroad were discovered through soccer academies and schools' sports and Nigeria needs to revive its school sports base.

He said that the country had many talented athletes at the grassroots but without planning, the talents would continue to rot away.

"It is only a collective effort that can make the country's sports to regain its footing. Government cannot do it alone," he added.

The consul-general commended the supporters club for its contribution toward ensuring the growth of sports generally in the country.

He said that Ethiopia, with the single largest supporters at the ongoing Nations Cup, were sponsored to South Africa by an individual, an Ethiopian millionaire, stressing that such individuals and corporate bodies were needed in Nigeria.

Earlier, Oladipo said that the fortunes of sports was declining in the country because of lack of sporting infrastructure and support from government, corporate bodies and public spirited individuals.

He pledged that in spite of these problems, the club would continue to contribute its quota toward the development of sports in the country.

NAN

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