Former World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Former World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili has warned of the danger posed to Nigerian football industry by uncontrolled passion for the English Premier League (EPL).
English football has a large fan base in Nigeria with many of her youths associating with some of the leading clubs in the Premier League.
But at the launch of a new amateur football club, TEAP FC in Abuja, Ezekwesili who drove the reforms of the Obasanjo Administration warned that the excessive passion for foreign football could stunt the development of the game in Nigeria.
Ezekwesili, who is a member of the board of trustees of the fledging club, said the Beautiful Game can be used as social crusade and way to gainfully employ the youths.
She advised Nigerians to take advantage of the economic opportunities abound in football by putting the right structures in place and ensuring that the game is well administered.
“Everyone loves English football but our local football won’t develop if we don’t control our excessive interest for foreign football. We really have to maximize the benefits of the game by developing our football industry because our teeming youths can be engaged through the game” she said.
Ezekwesili, who amazed the audience with her knowledge of history of football, observed that administration is the bane of football in Nigeria and advised that the right people be put in charge of the game.
TEAP is a football outfit backed by the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG). The team will compete next year in the National League, which is a second-tier of the Nigerian Premier League.