Football, The Only Sport In Nigeria.

5:10:00 pm

I love sports. As a little child, I saw my siblings play volleyball. This was a bit strange because most of our neighbours at home played football. Then, my brothers were in their school's volleyball team, Hussey College in Warri. Sometimes they took me along to practice and I would watch as they shoved the ball from one side to the other. What a game! I thought. This game of volleyball piqued my interest in other forms of sports, football included.



Lawn tennis was the second favourite sports to watch at home. Football being first choice of course. I admired(still admire) Serena and Venus Williams when I watched the Wimbledon and the French Open and I hoped that one day, I would be like them. But as fate would have it, I was a better table tennis player, than a lawn tennis player.

In my junior secondary year, I developed my table tennis skills and I was the second best player in my school. I had hopes of improving my skills but I'm sure you can imagine what happened next. I had to face my academics. Not like table tennis was a distraction, it was just glaring that the possibility of building a career in table tennis wouldn't work out.

In recent years, we have successfully tossed aside the other forms of sports that we know. I'm aware that every country has a particular sport that they're well known for. Like India is well known for cricket as the USA is known for basketball. But notwithstanding, the other types of sport are not abandoned.

Schools in Nigeria even make it worse. If you're not good at track and field events especially running, then you don't know how to play sports. The runners and footballers are given the most attention. We don't encourage our children to play sports. Its all about the books. But can we really blame our parents?

We live in a society that doesn't give due respect to our sportsmen/women. So why would our parents want us to represent a country that doesn't recognize its sports personalities. Can you remember the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta? Can you remember Mary Onyali? Do you know Chioma Ajunwa? Falilat Ogunkoya?



Remember Francis Obikwelu? How he was abandoned by Nigerian sports officials after an injury while representing us at Sydney 1996? What about Falilat Ogunkoya? We would rather reward academic excellence and in more recent times, beauty, than reward sporting excellence. There is no encouragement whatsoever to participate in sports except football.

Take a look at our sport's newspapers, its all about football. Sports invariably translates to football here in Nigeria. When last were we represented in badminton? Do we even have a national badminton team? What about squash? Do we realise we have a dysfunctional national handball team? No. If it's not football then it isn't important. As regards the football, where are we on the world football ranks? Our runners tend to do very well but they aren't well catered for most times. They either end up ending their career or becoming citizens of other countries who see them for what they are truly worth. Francis Obikwelu for example. What have we done for Wellington Jighere who is currently the world's best Scrabble player?

We have failed to realise that sports is also an avenue to improve our country's economy. Take a look at Michael Jordan. He made $90 million in 2013 alone from his Nike Air Jordan's sale. Which major brand in Nigeria has sponsored any sportsman apart from footballers in Nigeria? Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history and for what sports? Swimming. Don't we have better swimmers in the creeks in Niger Delta? At least if given proper training, we might have had someone to give Michael Phelps a run(swim) for his money.

Nigeria is blessed beyond comprehension but we are burdened with leaders who don't care about her citizens. Sports is just one of many other neglected sectors in the country. I strongly believe that one day, we would tap into our human resources and develop talents that would bring us honour, recognition and economic development asides our footballers.

Have a restful weekend.
xo, Evita.



Images found on goal.com and Wikipedia.org.

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12 comments

  1. great post as usual Football and tennis are my favorite but I've played long time ago since ivelost the passion thanks for sharing

    Yanikeur.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Yanes. Its also being a while I played too :(

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  2. Always looking forward to your post. Football is loved by all countries. But you are very right, Nigeria has ignored other sports. The football is not even well funded. My fave sport is Basketball.😊

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    1. Hey Miguel!☺you're right about football but we should still encourage other sports too. Lawn tennis has my heart any day.😄

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  3. Whoops! Insightful. You just pointed out one of the recurring problems we are faced with in Nigeria-- the only sporting language we seem to understand is football. I hope they would find a lasting solution to it.

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    1. Hey Feyi! ☺I hope they really do. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I have missed this space maybe nearly as much as I miss playing basketball...lols.
    The sports minister probably need to read your perspective on this issue. Nigeria has the potential of doing so well in many other sports, if only our sports administration will rise up to their responsibilities.


    Cheers Ev

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    1. The space missed you too.lol! We have a lot of untapped potentials, really. Our sport's ministry has to sit up. Thanks Ugo😊

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  5. ohhhh nigeria... if the little children only know football
    well said.. sport ministry abi industry needs to wake up

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  6. Lawn Tennissssssss. What of Ludo and draft.....Obiora Richard

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