WE ARE SLEEPING ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT USING SPORTS AS A TOOL
I have always considered sports, particularly football, as a tool for youth development and emancipation, which is why I ventured and dedicated half of my life to the sector.
In the roughly 25 years that I have been in the business of youth development through sports, I have worked with many people to mentor young boys and girls, and I am proud of how well they have turned out.
First, with Fountain Youth Sports Club and later Phoenix Athletics Sports Club, and as of May this year, the Ekiti State Football Association, what a journey it has been.
The past few months have been exasperating, watching nothing happen from the back seat. Everyone, from journalists to coaches to pseudo-sports administrators, are just trying to cash in.
Only a handful of real investors, such as Hon. Kunle Soname of Remo Stars FC/Beyond Limits FA, Hon. Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki of Mailantarki FA in Gombe and the young, passionate owner of Sporting Lagos FC, Shola Akinlade amongst others are visibly crafting a tomorrow with football as a tool.
I have not only preached but also demonstrated that a lot could be achieved using football competitions as a platform for mobilizing teams to compete at all age grades and watching how quickly the ecosystem gets defined. Using football competitions, marketers, coaches, administrators, and even the talents will put in more effort for visible development and growth.
Hope is all the youth needs to stay on track; they trust that with hard work, perseverance, and focus, their dreams will come true. Sport offers hope and creates the platform for dreams to come true, yet, the opportunistic pseudo-sports administrators and pretenders who sit at the helms of affairs do zilch!
These days, I do not see the excitement in the eyes of the young talents at the training grounds; they have nothing to work or dream about and I ask myself, why?
Who is training the coaches? Who is mentoring future sports administrators? Where are the sports promoters and marketers? And most importantly, where are the sporting events to take to the would-be sponsors?
The State Football Associations, especially those from my domain (South West Nigeria) have been sleeping for the past two and a half months since they got elected/reelected into office.
I have not read about a work plan, nor have I seen an interview where they describe how they intend to develop youth using sports as a tool.
I am worried!
Just scribbling my thoughts