Idowu Raises the Alarm on Decline of Grassroots Football

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Following the non-qualification of Nigerian teams for the age-grade competitions within and outside Africa,

Chairman of Nath Boys FC, Yemi Idowu, has urged the leadership of state Football Associations (FAs) to revive grassroots soccer to aid the development of the game at that level.

Idowu, a director on the board of the Lagos Junior League believes there must be conscious efforts by those in charge of football to give adequate attention to youth football to ensure that quality players graduate to the senior national teams in future.

He admitted that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has done a good job so far with the senior national teams but that the states need to meet up with their obligations at that grassroots level.

“After we won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, we had players from the tournament coming through to the senior national teams and we were all excited about the team’s qualification for the World Cup. But we must not relax and believing that all is well,” he stressed.

Idowu, a former chairman of the National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) charged the football body to start building junior teams despite the country’s inability to make it to age grade CAF and FIFA competitions this year.

“We don’t have to be relaxed hoping that we will assemble teams when we have competitions but we must start building now so that some of these players can make the senior national teams in three to five years time. If we don’t do this, this is another disaster waiting to happen,” he warned.

For the Lagos Junior League, Idowu lamented the delay in commencing the competition, adding that the league has become a good platform to discover quality players for the national teams.

With likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Dele Alampasu and Wilfred Ndidi coming through the league, Idowu believes when the Lagos Junior League kicks off, more players would be unearthed for the country.