TUESDAY TRENDS – NO MONEY FOR SPORT
Over the last couple of weeks, reports emanating in the press reports that different teams or individuals are unable to represent Nigeria in different qualifiers for competitions. And in some worse cases, they cannot represent us in the competition proper due to lack of funds.
Let us not go too far down memory lane or at the “big fish” the Super Eagles whose every match comes with its own finance induced drama. At the last Olympic in Brazil, some Nigerian Athletes had to raise funds from family and friends privately while others had to rely on the good folks on the internet via gofundme to get money to be at Brazil, while the Sports Minister led a team of bureaucrats to Brazil.
Kits and equipment were left in Nigeria or never supplied due to different reasons including late release or in some cases none release of funds. That was a national disgrace of epic proportion, and beautifully enough, there was no consequence whatsoever for that shamble.
Last week, the Minister For Finance confidently told reporters that Nigeria is not bankrupt, but all indications from our Ministry of Sports indicate that there is no money for sport. There have been lots of talks about how the government cannot or should not run sport, how sport is a big business and how private enterprises should begin to invest in sports. Very little has come out of those talks with Ifeanyi Uba and MFM shining the torch in football.
Just as we have privatized, sold off or hired out national properties, I think it is time we did the same in sports, maybe sell the football teams to Aliko Dangote, the athletics team to Femi Otedola, while Folorunsho Alakija takes over the gymnasts.
Sport is a massive industry and in other countries, it is a major revenue avenue; It is high time Nigeria sees it as such so we can stop this talk of no money for sport.