NIGERIA CAN RAISE 100 TEAMS CAPABLE OF WINNING WORLD CUP - SEN. ADESEUN
• Eagles in action
Senator Ayoade Adeseun believes that the Super Eagles had no business playing a draw with the Wasps of Rwanda in the recent Africa Nations Cup qualifier in Kigali considering Nigeria's population of over 160 million people and the abundance of football talents in the country compared to Rwanda with a population of barely two million people.
'Absolutely, I think the result of the match should have been different. It's appalling. What is the population of Rwanda? Perhaps, two million people, while Nigeria has about 160 million people and all we could raise was a team that could only pick a draw against Rwanda. That tells you the whole story. It's sad and very unfortunate,' he fumed.
The senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District reiterated his commitment to support sports development across the nation, particularly, the Nigerian Premier League. He spoke at his residence in Ibadan last weekend, while presenting a letter of commendation, a golden boot and a cash prize of N.2million to Jude Aneke, the highest goal scorer in the Nigerian Premier League last season.
According to Adeseun, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Sports: 'Football is the only game in Nigeria that is widely accepted by the people regardless of tribe or ethnic group.
'When there is a football match involving Nigeria, people don't care whether one is Hausa or Yoruba, an Egbesu or a Bakassi boy, they will rally together to support the Nigerian team. Nigerians' love for football is inestimable,' he remarked.
He, however, finds it appalling that Nigeria cannot boast of a team that can conquer the world.
'When you walk around the country, you will find kids playing football on the streets, community fields and in every available space in their neighbourhood. With all those talents, there is nothing that stops Nigeria, a country of about 160 million people, from raising more than 100 solid teams that can conquer the world.'
He associated the dwindling fortune of the country's football to the underdeveloped nature of the local league and said that it was out of his concern to see that the NPL is well developed that he presented an award to Aneke for his feat in the last football season.
'The award is a way of encouraging and inspiring the players in the Nigerian League to strive and put in their best in the game,' the senator said.
The award recipient, Jude Ulochukwu Aneke, thanked the senator for his kind gesture.
'I feel very honoured and appreciated,' the former Kaduna United talisman said.
In his own remark, the Belgian handler of the Warri Wolves' striker, Maurice Cooreman, described the senator's gesture as the first of its kind in Nigeria. He commended the senator, saying that other Nigerians should emulate his commitment and love for the game to enable the Nigerian League to grow.
Also at the event, the distinguished senator unveiled the logo and mascot of the Senator Ayo Adeseun Champions Cup for public secondary schools within his senatorial district and the three local governments in Ogbomosho Zone.
He explained that the objective behind the competition 'is to take sports back to the grassroots, where young talents would be discovered, and by catching them young, we would be able to raise world-class footballers from the younger generation, who in the long run, would see to the improvement of football in Nigeria.'
He associated the degeneration of sports in Nigeria to the 'massive corruption in the sports ministry, coupled with the state of the economy and poverty in the land.'
The senator hinted that his committee is already working on the probe of the nation's sports administrators to rid the system of corruption that has crumbled the sector.
However, as an individual, he maintained: 'I will utilise all the resources at my disposal to see that Nigeria is restored to her sporting glory.'