Nigeria’s Football Problem Is Lack Of Development  –Onigbinde | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria’s Football Problem Is Lack Of Development  –Onigbinde

Posted: May 30, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nigeria needs to embrace grassroots development if the country wants to develop its football potentials, Adegboyega Onigbinde, a former Super Eagles coach and FIFA/CAF Technical Instructor, said this in an interview.

What is the way forward as it seems the U-20 is the only good football team in Nigeria?

Adegboyega Onigbinde

Adegboyega Onigbinde

In accordance with FIFA statutes, and its regulations, the first objective for any football organisation is to develop the game. Competition is meant to assess development. A national team should be made up of home based players while foreign based should only compliment. I still maintain that we should concentrate more on development, if you develop adequately good results will come later and will be permanent and if you don’t well, you will continue to fail.

What about the foreign based players, how do we introduce them into the team?

What is so special in these foreign based players that we don’t have in Nigerian players playing at home. In fact, it will pay us better because we will be developing them along the line of our natural endowments by the Almighty, and that is what makes the difference. Yes, these boys in Europe go through systematic programmes over there; why can’t we replicate the same thing in Nigeria so that we have better chances.

How do we go about development of football in Nigeria?

You are not developing but assessing, what are you assessing? That was what I first told Sani Lulu when we first discussed this issue and that we are going to set up U-13 and I said that is not development. The first thing is development, teach them how to play first, and that’s why we are in trouble now. That is why we depend entirely on foreign based player which is wrong. The nucleus of a national team should be home based, so that they will formulate a national policy and culture of football, and I believe that Muhammadu Buhari, whom I know is a sports man will support this, and if a teacher goes into a class and starts with a test, he will need his head examined. That’s what we are doing in our football. We are not developing, we are organising competitions to assess. What are we trying to find out? It is just unusual, that’s what we are doing with our football.

How can we run football properly in Nigeria?

That is why I say most of the time that instead of running football, we are ruining football, the talents are there and we are not polishing the talents, they are there like gold in the goldmine. If you go to the bush to get raw gold, you will be lucky to get solid pieces. Before it can become necklace, earrings, it has to pass through fire and that is what our talents have to pass through and it’s not a difficult thing; people are just not focused on that area, most unfortunate.

You’ll reduce juvenile delinquency. Each ward in each local government should have a football team, if you have 21 wards in a local government, about 20 players can come together to compete, to form or select a zonal team. The zonal team will meet at the national level, select a Nigerian team and with that, you’ll be sure to have gotten the best players from the grassroots from the remotest parts of the country which is possible. And when you organise a competition, you have to monitor the competition. Pick outstanding players, when this list comes to Abuja, it will collate their names. I can raise a team that will represent Nigeria within Abuja alone because the talents are there.

How can we rescue our dwindling football fortunes?

Look at this, what’s the population of Cape Verde, about half a million and they are ahead of us in FIFA ranking. Nigeria can present a team that can represent Nigerians if we get our developmental programmes together and well. The first problem we have is this developmental programme, which has to be engineered by the Technical Department. The Technical Department has been relegated to nothingness in our football administration, and sports administration in general and that is the nerve centre. That’s the focus. If you want to achieve in sports, you must care about the technical department and it must be given the rightful position. So that it will be able to monitor and organise.

What about school children, how can they balance school and football?

A boy leaves school at two and he knows he has football training at four o’ clock because the concentration is on that football, he will be there then and very excited, he will always look forward to it. There’s another advantage, interested people will be there as well to watch. So in the next two hours, you won’t see him elsewhere, you have taken him out off the street from joining bad company, and then you’re are building healthier citizens with education.

In 1983, I started from the scratch even when I was going to the World Cup; I started from home, which was what threw up a lot of players. The talents are there but we are not organised enough to nurture them and polish them into stars. In fact, we are retrogressing instead of progressing.