Unexpected demise of a Sports Enthusiast and Philanthropist, Chief Molade Okoya -Thomas no doubt has left indelible mark too wide to fill in Nigeria’s Sporting Arena. Known by most of his friends for his deep passion towards promoting and sponsoring sporting activities including the annual Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championships which has been on for over four decades to set an unbeatable record, many giants strides of Chief Okoya-Thomas lives so much to be munched by most Sports administrators who occupy positions with little or no positive effect.
This year’s Super four tournament which Nigeria’s league officials, League Management Company, LMC expanded to accommodate two National teams preparing for continental showdown would have ended but the ugly trend surrounding its organization has continued to re-vibrate.
The stage is set for another year of sporting activities after 2014 ended in some sorts of comedy-tragedy for Nigeria while participating and missing out in various competitions.
Obvious crises holding the Nigeria football after this years’ World Cup staged in Brazil have continued to create great vacuity with concerned stakeholders happing on many dangers ahead.
Their repeated concerns range from unwarranted system at which football affairs have been managed in the past and present.
From the days of Ibrahim Galadiam, Abdullahi Lulu and Aminu Maigari to the present moment there have been repeated question-marks with the way elections which ushered in NFF Presidents and other members of NFF Board were conducted.
Over the years, football has remained famous sports in Nigeria. Its activities have in one way or the other turned attention of Nigerians away from other sporting events which equally provide a level playing round for teeming young Men and Women to thrive in their chosen career.
Once again, Defending Champions, Nigeria failed to qualify for a Nations Cup tournament scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea come 2015, after they were held to 2-2 draw by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the last AFCON Game decided last week Wednesday. It was a similar situation in 2011 when Nigeria needed a victory in a bid to qualify but ended up in a draw against Guinea at the Abuja National Stadium under the tutelage of Samson Siasia.
When this years’ edition of African Club Basketball Championship gets underway in Tunisia for both Men and Women categories, Nigerian representatives including Mark Mentors and Kano Pillars who have already qualified to fly the country’s flag, will be hoping to surpass previous records by any Nigerian team at the tournament since its inception in 1972.Also known as FIBA African Clubs Champions Cup, the annual competition is the highest caliber professional basketball championship for clubs, organized by the FIBA Africa and played by the champions of the leagues of the African countries.
With two matches to go in the ongoing Nations Cup qualifying series ahead of 2015 continental showpiece, Africa’s big guns including Nigeria’s Super Eagles are still engulfed in deep permutations over the possibility of securing AFCON place. As it stands, continental Power Houses like Egypt, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Angola, Senegal among others are yet to guarantee their tickets to next years’ soccer competition in yet to be decided venue.
After reigning African Champions, Super Falcons reclaimed African Women Championship, AWC, title in Namibia, attention has now moved to Canada, venue of 2015 Women World Cup where no fewer than 24 teams are expected to compete in the quadrennial soccer fiesta. The reclaimed title slipped off their hands in 2008 and 2012 ever since the Women Championship was introduced 22 years ago.
Year after year, stakeholders have continued to cry foul over the collapse of sporting activities occasioned by few and in many places no sporting facilities located within the various government and privately-owned primary and secondary schools.
School children only find sporting solace only in schools built decades ago. Most modern schools established in recent times especially in different communities across the country have relegated sports viewed as an integral part of a Child’s education to the background.