9 March 2018

Nigeria: Yemi Idowu Raises Alarm Over Decline of Grassroots Football

Following Nigerian teams' failure to qualify for age-grade competitions within and outside Africa, Chairman of Nath Boys, Yemi Idowu has urged the leadership of the states' football associations to revive grassroots football to aid age-grade soccer development.

Idowu, a director in the board of the Lagos Junior League, believes there must be conscious efforts by those in charge of football to give adequate attention to youth football that will in turn provide quality players to the senior national teams in future.

"The NFF has done a good job so far with the senior national teams, but we now need the states to meet up with their obligations.

"After winning the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, we had the players from the tournament coming through to the senior national teams and we are excited about the team's qualification for the World Cup. But we must not relax and believe that all is well," he said.

Idowu, a former Chairman, National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM), charged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to start building junior teams despite the country's inability to make it to age grade CAF and FIFA competitions this year.

"We don't have to be relaxed hoping that we will assemble teams when we have competitions but we must start building now so that some of these players can make the senior national teams in three to five years time. If we don't do this, this is another disaster waiting to happen," he warned.

For the Lagos Junior League, Idowu lamented the delay in commencing the competition, adding that the league has become a good platform to discover quality players for the national teams.

With likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Dele Alampasu and Wilfred Ndidi coming through the league, Idowu believes when the Lagos Junior League kicks off, more players would be unearthed for the country.

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