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Why football Development nosedives in Ondo State

By Ayodele Adewumi

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This reminds me of the old Western Regional Government, under Nigerians Parliament System headed by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whose free primary education for all and free children health care for children in Western Region. The establishment of the first Television service in Africa in 1959, it was a period of accelerated industrial development under Odua investment, who ventured into textile industry, Cocoa Products, Baking, Soft Drinks, Hotels, in fact, several companies and institutions.

The Nigerian Tribune in 1949, The Western Broadcasting Corporation (WNBC), Western Nigeria Housing Corporation, Cocoa Industries, First University in Nigeria, University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University founded in 1961 and host of others.

Alas, some power that be, saw the vision and the unprecedented growth of the western region came up with cynics’ ideas, abolished the regional government, came up with ideas of a Central Government with many acronyms (FRN) (FGF), (NFG), Federal Authorities whatever names we are called or given, they did well but the region and all the industries are history today.

The productive capacity of any nation or state depends on its ability to harness the skills of its citizens.

At the creation of Ondo State Football Agency, by the founding father who understood that football was going to colonise the world as we have today, apart from the round leather game ability to foster unity, friendship and peaceful co-existence among people, it’s the richest profession in the world, today.

Ondo State Football Agency was created to cater for Grassroot Football Development starting from academy to Rising Stars which in turn will feed Sunshine Stars and other club in the country and outside the country. It was a perfect and well-motivated plan.

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However, during Governor Mimiko’s era, Sunshine Stars became a brand representing the country on two occasions in African Continental matches and even got to semi-finals, today, Sunshine Stars is battling with relegation from the premiere League.

Sunshine Queens is half way out, no more Rising Stars, No more Academy. The question now is why we are here? The simple answer is “CORRUPTION THE MAJOR CAUSE OF FAILURE IN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT IN ONDO STATE”

Unpatriotic behaviour on the part of many football Administrators and Technical Crew.

Killing of the Academy and Rising Stars favours Sunshine Stars, this led to buying of foreign players and coaches through tricky deals.

Posting of Non-Professional Administrative head-to-head the Agency unlike HMB, Ministry of works, health and Justice, where non professional are not allowed to function as head.

Don’t forget, corruption is a reality in many aspects of life including football, the Team put together by the past Commissioner, Otunba Dele Ologun, are not bad, Sunshine Stars can actually beat any team, contesting in the League but the Yorubas will say “ara ija leyin wa” meaning that during scuffle, you can bite your opponent. In Football, people use all they have to play. Many of our referees have a reputation for poor officiating, for example the match between Sunshine Stars FC vs Eyimba FC here in Akure Stadium was a case study, why would a team on number two (2) at the top table find, it difficult to beat another team far away from the top.

It is clear from the start, that the first half of the game was dominated by Sunshine Stars, the home team played better game, though political factors in the round leather game cannot be over emphasized for example half of the Golden Eaglet first team players failed the mandatory (MRI) age test for the WAFU B U-17 tournament, what is the position of Nigeria?

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Referees in African Continental Game? Apologies to some dedicated Referees who are working hard to develop their skills and protect their image.

I don’t believe in blame game but let us imbibe the “avant-garde-tradition” doing things differently, a phrase attributed to Albert Einstein, the famous physicist who stated that “you can not continue to do things the same way and expect different results” if you want to achieve different outcome, you need to change your approach or actions for these are necessary for progress.

SOLUTIONS

Administrative head must be a professional with vast knowledge in football.

Periodic workshop/seminars for both players and technical crew.

Resuscitation of the academy as raw talents abound in all the 18 local governments of the state.

Government must help in promotion of transparency and accountability in the development of football and not use the Agency as dumping ground for political thugs.

I want to believe in the present administration of His Excellency, Governor Aiyedatiwa preparedness to addressing the plight of the people, the on-going recruitment in SUBEB and TESCOM are pointers since year 2000 such has never happened in the state, the prompt payment of salaries and arrears, outright payment of N1.2 billion for 2013 retirees and gratuity, similarly the on-going road projects in the state as the Agency’s staff are beneficiaries of the Akure-Oda Road projects.

Instead of the distraction here and there, I think the people should provide support to Mr. Governor so that the good work can continue because the work done within this short period are pointers to the fact that it’s a new dawn in Ondo State which should reflect in the development of the leather game.

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Adewumi is theMedia Director,

Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA)

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Why football Development nosedives in Ondo State

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