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We must end government’s grip on football, says GTI Capital Boss

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The Group Managing Director of GTI Capital Securities Limited, Lawal Abubakar, is spearheading the campaign to ensure that government at all level hands off sports management, especially football, and create the enabling environment for private and corporate entities to take over.

Abubakar, an investment banker, said in Lagos during a media parley that he was ready to lead a campaign that will see more involvement of private and corporate bodies in the promotion and development of football.

“Part of our resolutions here is that government has no business managing football other than providing the enabling environment for private participate,” Abubakar stated on Thursday.

Speaking further, Abubakar, a die-hard football lover said: “All over the world, sports, particularly football is big business and it belongs to the people.

But in Nigeria, government continues to dominate the space. It is time for our government to stay away from managing it.

This is the best time to take it back and hand it over to the people.”

He added that his company, GTI, was ready to stand up for a cause that will see the people retrieve what belongs to them.

“Nigeria is a virgin land of opportunities for football to grow. GTI is committed to the football economy, and we want to develop a vibrant football economy.

The only way is to join hands to take it back from government.”

The GMD stressed that apart from oil, football has earned Nigeria accolades, saying Nigeria has no reason to be poor if the opportunities inherent in football are well harnessed.

“When you travel outside the country, the first interaction a foreigner will have with you is on football.

They will ask about Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu, Rashedi Yekini and other footballers. For some of other persons, Nigeria is a rich oil nation. We have oil and football, so, why should we be poor?”, Abubakar queried.

On his part, Prof. Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso said: “A major restructuring of the sub-sector in line with best practices is equally a necessity.

The restructuring agenda must be driven by the goal to create a vibrant football economy. A critical step towards the realization of this is to ensure that a successful business managers are wooed to manage football activities.”

A veteran sports journalist, Pius Ayinor, who delivered a key note on where Nigerian got it wrong in football, said that several issues must be addressed, including age cheat, policy style, administration and corruption in high places.


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