Former Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, has revealed that Nigerian sports sector has not grown since Independence in 1960.
The international football instructor, who stated that Nigeria’s few achievements at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations and the Olympic Games were based on ‘mere’ luck, reiterated the need for government to invest more in the development of sports in the country.
Onigbinde led the Super Eagles at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where the team crashed out at the group stages in a group that had Argentina, Sweden and England.
“The Nigerian sports sector has not grown since Independence. This is because we have not been building it – and what you don’t build cannot grow.
“The country is currently where it is because there has not been a conscious effort to develop things and sports can’t be in isolation. It is a part of a system, which has not been working effectively.
“These are flashes of success and we did not come about them because we carefully planned to achieve them. If we had planned well, we should be reaping from the fruits today.
“There is no particular planned framework that could be said to be responsible for the successes we recorded at those competitions.
“We do well in a competition today and in the next edition, we will not be able to repeat such. In the past, we depended mainly on home-grown talents for competitions.
“But, since we have failed to plan adequately, we have recently been depending on foreign talents and those trained by other countries to do well at competitions.
“That won’t guarantee us success, it will only bring one-time success and after that we go back to what we used to be.”
By Augustine Akhilomen