We are organizing competitions, not developing sports in Anambra —-Nwangwu
By Sab Osuji
The one-day summit on sports organized by the Anambra state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, tagged ‘Anambra Sports, yesterday, today and tomorrow’, came to a fitting end Wednesday in Awka, the state capital, Orient Sports reports.
The summit was part of activities marking the 56th Anniversary of SWAN in the country with special focus on the South East State, Anambra.
Guest Lecturer, Sir Victor Nwangwu, a retired Secretary of Anambra State Football Association, a former player of Enugu Rangers, member of the Nigeria Football Federation Match Commissioners Committee, NFF Finance Committee and NFF Electoral Committee frowned at the dwindling state of sports in the state.
“It is on record that Anambra State produced the first Olympic medal winner for the country. It is also on record that Anambra state had held its head high in sports in the country in years past.
“Then, the state produced many players in the various categories of the national teams, like Mikel Obi and the rest, we have produced the like Mary Onyali, boxers like Ngozika Ekwelum who ruled the country, continent and globe in Heavyweight boxing.
“But today, the case has become different”, Nwangwu lamented.
Rolling out facts and figures, Nwangwu said deviation from original policy whereby athletes are unearthed from the grassroots, developed for future competitions is reason for the huge retrogression the state is currently witnessing.
“Where are the school sports festivals? Where are the facilities? Where are the synergy between the ministry of education/ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure that sports take its root in the schools?
“You cannot be running competitions in the name of sports development, no, it doesn’t work that way.
“Sports should be part of the academic curriculum. There should be inter class sports meets, inter house and inter school sports competitions”, he pointed out, apparently drawing inspiration from the Onitsha Anglican Archdiocesan primary and secondary schools’ sports programs.
The former footballer and now sports administrator lamented the absence of sports infrastructure in the state, saying it is part of the factors militating against sports development in the state.
He also hit out at officials who shortchange athletes, saying it is an ill wind that blows sports no good.
“Most times, appointments into sports positions are not done on merit. Political consideration, party affiliations take center stage irrespective of whether such appointee knows it or not.
“You don’t appoint a lawyer into a medical position or vice versa. Sometimes, athletes don’t get their real dues in terms allowances.
“We need to correct these if we must reach the height, we all anticipate”, Nwangwu submitted amidst cheers and ovation from the participants.