Professor of Cardiopulmonary Respiratory Physiotherapy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Professor Rufus Adedoyin has attributed challenges bedeviling grassroot sports development to poor attention and lack of facilities on the part of the government and private individuals.
Speaking on Wednesday during the Stakeholders’ Forum, a monthly Interview program of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Osun State Chapter, Prof. Adedoyin said this has also led to the poor performance of Nigeria age grade teams and athletes at the intercontinental and international competitions.
He said: “The challenges in the sports sector will be far from over if we fail to go back to the grassroots where there are budding talents. It is unfortunate that there are no quality programs from the government for primary schools sports again as it used to be whereas these are platforms for identifying budding talents that can be nurtured to stardom.
“In most schools, there are no Physical and Health Education teacher, there is no principal or headmaster’s cup, most schools do not have football pitch or training equipment. Without this, there is no way a country can make headway.”
Prof. Adedoyin also called on government not to approve private schools that do not have sports ground and facilities.
“All work no play make Jack a dull boy. Talents in children are best discovered at tender age through participation in sporting activities with their peers. This is why all schools should be mandated to have a training ground where all pupils can engage in any game of their choice. Some private schools nowadays do not have sports ground and I advise the government not no approve such schools.
“It is when pupils and students participate in competitions that they will be able to showcase their talents to the world. This is why principal/headmaster’s cups, inter-house athletic competition and many more should be revived,” the sports enthusiast added.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman Osun SWAN, Timothy Agbor who was represented by the Association’s Treasurer, Seyi Akanni lauded Professor Adedoyin for his annual Peace Soccer Competition in Ile-Ife which according to him, has been a means of enhancing peaceful coexistence between people of Ile-Ife and Modakeke among other towns.