Strategies for Grass roots Sports Development

To state the obvious, sports have continued to take a prime place in virtually all sectors of Human and National development.

Many countries across the world are also doing their best in expanding the scope and provide necessary impetus for sports to thrive.

Sports provides employment, businesses, wealth and health opportunities for a large number of global population, especially the youths.

Without mincing words, grassroots’ sports remain an invaluable channel for sports development in any country as its serves as the root for discovering future talents who will bring pride to the nation if well-coordinated and organized.

However, to achieve remarkable result in grassroots sports development, emphasis needs to be placed on evolving a blue print for innovative and strategic programs.

For instance, putting in place a viable sports development agenda and sustainable growth is desirable while individuals, government and private organizations also have diverse roles to play.

Today, many schools from primary to higher institutions in the country have little or no regards at all for sports competitions, due to lack of basic facilities and where available, such facilities are being under-utilized.

If one may ask, when last were Headmasters cup and Principals cup competitions for primary and secondary schools organized across the country?

What happened to National Colleges of Education Games, NACEGA, Nigeria Polytechnics Games, NIPOGA, and Nigeria University Games, NUGA?

Other questions that come to mind include; what criteria have governments been adopting in appointing their sports administrators? Have they been putting right pegs in right holes?

One may also want to know whether the country has been leveraging on technological innovations and strategies for sports development.

Unless answers are provided to these and other related questions, Nigeria’s quest for all round sports development may remain a mere wishful thinking.

For the Nigeria’s sports development drive to be in tandem with global best practice, time is ripe to embrace current technological strategies and innovations to achieve the desired results.

Nigeria’s sports sector stands to achieve a lot of positives with the adoption of new ideas and use of modern sporting facilities, data and event analysis including the new video technology called “Video Assistant Referee” for football matches.

While unveiling the plans for 2020, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare announced that the nation’s short-term sports development plan for the next two years would gradually be unfolded. Also, the ministry will monitor and ensure the completion of about twenty mini-stadia across the country. He added that four FIFA stadia would be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2020.

This is a commendable move from the stable of the Ministry of Sports, however, Nigerians do not want a mere political statement but a plan with achievable strategies.

As Nigeria continues to scout for a new crop of athletes that will replace the ageing ones ahead of future sporting competitions, such as Age grade football tournaments, All Africa games, Commonwealth games and Olympics especially Japan 2020 Olympics, all hands must be on deck to embrace innovations and strategies for sports development especially at the grassroots level.

Olaolu Fawole

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