Against the backdrop of dwindling fortune of Nigerian sports, Oluseyi Oyebode a foremost grassroots sports developer believes those in charge of Nigerian sports must pay more attention to school sports development.
Oyebode, whose efforts made Lagos-based Greensprings School a household name in school sports believes that a revival of national sports will have to start with a strong school sports programmes.
“The only way forward is to have good structure for school sports development. We need to realize that the days of cutting corners are over. School sports needs to be managed by professionals who are grounded in school sports development not opportunists that see it as an avenue to bolt away with sponsors’ money. Sports promotion should not confused with sports development. More support should be provided to public schools and the education ministry to develop school sports by assigning consultants to assist them with their annual programs and plans. Some private schools have identified school sports development as an important part of the curriculum and they take care to marry sports and education together. Parents are also encouraged and supported to nurture a budding talent,” he said.
The former head of sports at Greensprings School added: “Government still has a major role to play by revisiting the national grassroots sports policy. School sport is the bedrock of any sports development programme in any nation. Many children are introduced to sports at school age. As they get older, specialised coaches can take over the training of talented youngsters in specific sports. Stars are developed through such programmes.
“The role of school sports in the nation building cannot be over emphasised as school sports increases youth empowerment, skills development, self-actualisation and self-esteem as well as reduces crime.”
Recalling the efforts made by National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) led by Yemi Idowu, Oyebode said: “NASCOM under the leadership of Yemi Idowu really did her best most especially supporting schools programmes and initiatives but unfortunately this has not being sustained. It is now critical for Nigeria to revisit school sports if we desire genuine sports success,” he added.