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Invest In Nigerian Football, Kanu, Others Tell Dangote

Posted: May 26, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tony Ezimakor / Snr Correspondent Abuja

 

Former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo Kanu, has advised billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, to make his anticipated big money entryinto football by investing in Nigerian football.

Dangote has not hidden his desire to splash a billion dollar plus in a takeover bid of English Premiership club, Arsenal.

But Kanu in an exclusive chat in Abuja said that the huge sum would be better used locally in shoring up the Globacom league, which he believes needs investors of Dangote’s stature.

As Arsenal legend and supporter, Kanu said it would be a thing of joy for a Nigerian to be calling the shots at one of the world’s greatest club sides but said that the patriot in him suggests that charity should start at home in the present instance.

“I will say his (Dangote’s) interest in Arsenal is a good one. But if you ask me, if I am close to him, and if I should advise him, I will say ‘ bring all that money and put it in Nigerian football league’ and you see the league will start flying. We need people to invest in our league. People like him are the people we have been praying to come and support us; and support the national team as well, why not?

“People like that wherever they are, they come out to support their country’s sports. We have big people like that, they have to come out and support Nigeria sports. But if he goes for Arsenal, we’ll support him. After all I’m a supporter of Arsenal,” he said.

Stakeholders also asked him to buy into one of the local league clubs in order to help the growth of the gamer in the country. According to some of them, all that some of the clubs needed were massive injection of funds to help them to grow like some in the developed leagues such as the English league. Some of the fans made the plea against the backdrop of Mr. Dangote’s latest interest in buying into Arsenal FC of London.

Dangote was said to have, in 2010, made a futile attempt to buy Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s 15.9 per cent stake in the London club.

Recently too, he was reported to have made another bid that had also been turned down.

Undaunted, he was said to have even vowed to make another offer they might not turn down.

However, fans said they were mindful that he had the resources to do so, going by reports in the American Forbes Magazine that put his fortunes at around $3.3 billion (about 2.18 billion pounds).

Even though many acknowledged his bid for Arsenal takeover are legitimate as a businessman out to invest for profit but insist that corporate social responsibility demanded he should also invest in Nigeria, where he made his fortunes.

A former Green Eagles Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, said, “For him not to think of our league shows that something is terribly wrong.

“We do not have a structure. In fact going by FIFA regulations, none of our clubs has met the required standards of a club that a person like Dangote could have owned.”

“We should not be emotional on that ground,” Mr. Onigbinde said. “It is only when you bring in patriotism that it looks morally wrong, but first and foremost, he is a businessman. And so it’s only normal for him to spread his tentacles wisely.

Former Director-General, National Sports Commission, Dr. Amos Adamu, said the attitude of Nigerians do not encourage investors to finance local clubs.