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We need games masters back in schools, Adelabu tells presidency

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Adegoke Adelabu

• Tasks sports minister on rising cases of sports academies, others
Former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu has advised the Presidency to re-introduce the concept of Games Masters into schools. In particular, Adelabu, who played for the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan in his active days, wants retired state athletes to be engaged to assist in the training of primary and secondary school pupils in various sports.

“There should be proper orientation for the Game Masters in the way they will handle children so that we can scientifically monitor their physical, physiological, and psychological parameters development, as well as the skills and techniques in sports,” he stated in an interview with The Guardian.

Adelabu, a sports scientist, further stated that the government should ensure that there are qualified sport medical personnel to handle sports injuries saying: “That was what affected many of us when we were at our peaks.”“Most importantly, the government must scrutinize all the sport academies in the state and ensure that, they are not hiding places for miscreants in the name of sport. A lot of people dropped out of schools with the hope of going to play professional football in Europe and majority of them are over aged. There should be standard for everything.”

Turning to the recently appointed Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, the former IICC winger said: “I want to congratulate you on your appointment. Also, I want to quickly remind you that you are the Minister for Youths and Sport and not only for football. You need to also understand that people of various interest groups will come with ideas on what to do, but if their ideas were good, you need to ask them why is sport development at the sordid state that it is now.

“In other words, you have to start to look carefully and prayerfully (as everything in Nigeria needs prayers) for the caliber of professionals who can assist you in the realization of your dreams for the state.“It is important that you look into the conditions of the retired officers in the sport ministry and the sport council. It is also important to audit the professional competencies of the ministry staff. The principal officers should forward the qualifications and job descriptions of the staff in sport council and ministry of youths and sport. A lot of people do not have any business with sport, they were appointed to fill the gap because there was no serious minded government in place to engage in delving into the development of the economy through sport,” he stated.

Speaking further, Adelabu said: “A lot of people have seen sport association as a place to make money. That has to stop. Anyone who wants to contest as member of any sport association must demonstrate certain level of commitment to the sport they are interested in, and not just bribing their ways into office to exploit the athletes and the government.

“It is important for you to know how many athletes are employed by the sport council and their career paths. We cannot entertain redundancy any more. The government have to put in place a kind of programme that will help the retired athletes to engage in vocational skill training.“There should be equal attention given to every sport in terms of training, equipment, financial commitment in order to achieve the government objectives in the fulfillment of her social responsibility. I can say that earning big salary does not make a good athlete; it could be a source of motivation, but where athletes are not self- motivated; no matter how much is invested in them, it will just go down the drain. We need a complete change of attitude by our officials and athletes to make headway in our sport development. We need people who are well qualified as Coaches and Trainers who can complement the cognitive development of our youths in the field of sport and to be able to engage in vocational skill development when the need arises.”

Adelabu further said: “It is a well known fact that soccer receives greater attention because of the inherent global popularity of the game and the emotional gratification which the other games cannot produce. To avoid one-sided development, you have to start from the grassroots where the children are exposed to various types of games and are mentored based on their areas of competences.”

“The government needs to ensure that sporting facilities in schools are upgraded to a standard that can motivate the youths to participate in sport. All state athletes who are students should be given scholarships as cultural architects among the youths. This is a way of using talented athletes to stimulate the interests of others in sport by giving then scholarships to attend secondary or university of their choices. The government should help our youths who dropped out of school to continue their education and still have time to participate in sports,” Adelabu stated.


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Adegoke Adelabu
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