‘Grassroots Tourneys Can Rewrite Nigeria’s Ranking In Sports’

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Olatunji Fasimoye

For Nigeria to improve on its current rankings in sports generally, it has to deepen its search and grooming of skilled athletes with grassroots tournaments, a sports administrator has said.
Vice-President and Technical Director, Nigerian Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), Olatunji Fasimoye made the assertion yesterday in Lagos while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.
Fasimoye urged federations to deepen their search for skilled athletes by creating discovery tournaments and programmes that would unearth the talents at the grassroots.
He said that development of sports in the country was dependent on the creation of such programmes to discover skilled athletes.
According to him, the grassroots had a rich goldmine of talents yet to be discovered and who are skilled enough to rewrite the nation’s international rankings in various sports.
“We are gradually getting to see the end of the present generation of athletes and the need for a new generation who will replace and surpass the heights we have reached.
“Unfortunately, most sports authorities do not have plans ahead of time to ensure that new guys take over so we don’t drop the standard of the game when the old ones retire,’’ Faimoye said.
Fasimoye said that the Ministry of Youth and Sports should focus on supporting already existing programmes and creating avenues to search for new breed of talents.
“We have always been a great nation to reckon with in having quality athletes who represent us in various competitions.
“I am becoming optimistic that we may be on our way to living in lost glory if we do not create platforms to not only support and train upcoming athletes, but to retain them,’’ he said.
Fasimoye hailed the developmental programmes of the NRFF in partnership with organisations for the grooming of players and pleaded with the authorities to replicate the same ideas in their federations.