REVIVE INTER-SCHOOL COMPETITIONS TO UNEARTH TALENTS, OGEDEGBE TASKS GOVT
ST Finbarr's former football star, Nathaniel Ogedegbe, says that reviving some of the inter-school sports tournaments will reveal latent talents for Nigeria.
Ogedegbe, who played alongside Henry Nwosu, Muyiwa Oshuntolu and Stephen Keshi to rule Lagos State in the prestigious Principals' Cup as well as the Academicals, said he was disappointed that some of the school competitions have gone extinct.
'I believe that this brings an opportunity for renewal of Nigerian football,' he said. 'Our administrative structure should be built from the grassroots to the local, state and national arenas.
'Primary and secondary schools along with university football programmes should be brought into a system that offers a broad range of skill development programmes. We need to revitalise proper inter-school competition to promote talented players to higher levels of play in secondary schools, universities and club stages.
'Additionally, coaches should be trained and licensed, administrators should be trained to properly manage funds, train sportsmen and organise competitions. And to ensure success, they should employ experienced and licensed coaches.'
The United States (U.S.)-based tactician began his romance with football in the ever-bustling Bariga, a suburb of Lagos State, where his passion for soccer was fanned. Ogedegbe told The Guardian during the week from his base in the U.S.: 'I started playing football with my elder brother, Isaiah Kehinde Ogedegbe, a former Assistant General Manager with NEPA, at our house on Moloney Street in Ebutte Metta.
'Then, we would go to Evans Square to play when there were no scheduled games. My brother used to tell me about a player called Shaibu, who played for his former primary school (Saint Paul's Catholic School at Apapa Road). Shaibu was the best player around Ebutte Metta at that time.'
On completion of his elementary education at Ladi Lak School in the 1970s, the young Ogedegbe gained admission into the famous St Finbarr's College, where his march to stardom started. It was there he won the Lagos Principals' Cup twice.