Appointment Of Sports Commissioner Should Not Be Political Compensation, Ex-footballers Tell Ogun Governor, Others
Veteran soccer stars in Ogun state have implored the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and other governors in Nigeria to ensure core sports administrators are appointed as Commissioner for sports and not politicians.
The Ex-footballers under the aegis of All Stars football club, Asero, Abeokuta gave the advice at the weekend when executive members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Ogun State Chapter paid a courtesy visit to the All stars Secretariat.
Ex-football stars also condemned the poor state of the Muda Lawal Stadium in Asero, Abeokuta, the state capital, saying government paying lip service to sports.
The ex-footballers under the umbrella of All Stars Football Club, Asero branch expressed their displeasure on Saturday when the executive members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Ogun state chapter paid a courtesy visit to them.
The retired footballers said successive governments in the state have failed to pay attention to the stadium which has produced great footballers including Mathematical Segun Odegbami, Nduka Ugbade, Rashidi Yekinni, Mudashiru Lawal, Tarila Okorowata among others.
Speaking with the sports writers, the President, All stars football club, Asero branch, Mr. Salmon Akinbo who described stadium as 'iconic pitch' which has produced iconic football stars said the state government has abandoned the stadium to be taken over by weeds and reptiles.
Mr. Akinbo noted that, it took the intervention of the ex-players who usually train on the pitch every weekend to maintain the stadium with individual financial commitment.
The All-stars president who bemoaned the non-presence of Ogun state based football clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football Club (NPFL), urged the state government to give Muda Lawal stadium a facelift.
"Nigeria sports is generally bad, unlike before in the 80s and early 90s where we have about five football clubs representing Ogun state in the National Leagues.
"In those days, sports was like empowerment for the youths to take them away from social vices. The government need to engage to tap from their potentials. We want to the government to give tax relief for private companies to invest in sports.
"Muda Lawal stadium is an iconic pitch that has produced many football icons. Government in the state have paid lip service to renovate the stadium, therefore, killing sports in the state. The poor state of the stadium is worrisome, even the cleaning of the pitch has been put in our custody. Attention has been given to MKO Abiola stadium at Kuto, but this is where football kick off in Ogun state.
"History has to be regenerated here. We attempt to sought for private support to uplift the stadium, but we are handicapped because we have limited resources.
"We are also afraid because we have been informed that, the state government want to sell or concession the stadium to private company. The emphasis here is to resuscitate this stadium not to sell.
"Generally, sports is dead in Ogun state. We don't have the school inter-house sports for secondary schools again. The inter-house sports enable us to discover talents within the confine of the state.
"It is so unfortunate that we have never been blessed with sports loving governor and president in this country. Appointment of sports commissioner should not be job for the boys or political compensation."
Responding, the SWAN Chairman, Alhaji Hakeem Akintunde commended the veteran footballers for keeping the legacy of late Mudashiru Lawal alive.
Akintunde assured the ex-soccer stars of SWAN's support at all times.