Mr. Sunday Dare must also be commended for the Adopt-Athletes programme he launched some months back. He was able to get individuals, corporate bodies and others to adopt athletes in preparation for the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Although, the athletes didn’t win the number of medals promised, but for the first time, there was no issue of money for preparation or allowances. Everything concerning money went smoothly apart from the doping issues which caused serious distraction and embarrassment.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dare might have done well in the area of stadia revival and Adopt –Athletes programme, but he seems to lack administrative skills or maybe he doesn’t want to step on toes as a politician.
He has failed in the administration of sports and needs to quickly go and take up an administrative course especially as he prepares for life in the nearest future.
Presently, some federations are having problems because he failed to take his stand. There are many ways to go about things without offending anybody but Mr. Dare seems not to be interested and because of that, the internal wranglings which would have been resolved quietly are gradually snowballing into big crisis. Notable amongst them is the Badminton Federation, and now Basketball Federation. The implication of that is that some of our athletes might be denied access from featuring in competitions internationally.
Although, he did well in the intervention of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF crisis between the Amaju Pinnick-led board and Chris Giwa’s board but if he doesn’t take his stand now, the crisis rocking other federations might just resurface in football as election draws closer.
Apart from the administrative problem, there is need for Mr. Dare to also concentrate more on other sports. The attention and zeal he puts in football should also be channeled to other sports. He was up and doing, trying to ensure that everything was in place during the last football Olympic qualifiers and the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Ghana but unfortunately, they failed to qualify.
It is interesting to note that other sports give more medals at the Olympic than football. For instance, football with all the players and officials put together gives just one medal but federations like wrestling, athletics, boxing just to mention a few, give multiple medals hence the need for other sports to be given more attention.
Meanwhile, the Federation elections must have come and gone but there is need for the Minister to ensure that the presidents and their board members begin to work. Mr. Dare must ensure that the federations’ board start organizing events and preparing ahead for major competitions, of course, at the end, the credits will go to him as the head of the Sports Ministry.
Organizing events on monthly or bi-monthly by different federations will keep the stadia across the country busy. Information has it that some federations before now did not organize anything throughout their tenure. This is the time for the Minister to call for a meeting and address this issue and if there is any federation without any programme especially on grassroot should honourably leave the scene for people who have.
However, the NFF election is around the corner. Although, FIFA statutes state that there should not be government interference but the minister can ensure that the right people who will take the country’s football to greater heights, emerge. He can do that by consulting widely, the writer will also be willing to offer advice if need be.
Also, the minister should begin to make moves on how to bring the big wigs in the business sector to sports just like what is obtainable in South Africa and other parts of the world. Good enough, the Minister has charisma and the connections to pull any weight. For him to have attracted African wealthiest man, Aliko Dangote to renovate the MKO Abiola stadium, he can still convince him and others like Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga, Cubana, Total, Coca-Cola, DSTV, etc to take up sponsorship of some federations or clubsides.
The Minister should also as a matter of urgency convince government to see how a percentage of the profits made by the companies operating in the country can be channeled into sports.
Mr. Dare can achieve that by ensuring that tax rebates are given to those companies supporting sports in the country. Most developed countries in the world ensure that their youths are comfortable and one of the tactics they adopted is investment in sports hence you hardly see their youths take up crime or involve in things that disturb the peace of the country, only a few pockets of crime are noticed in such countries.
It is believed that if investment in sports is considered, unemployed youths who take to crime, will be off the street but if nothing is done, those who don’t see any reason to invest in the sports sector might be forced to sleep with one eye open even with their security men and apparatus in place.