A former national football team left full-back, Bright Omokaro, on Monday in Lagos appealed to relevant authorities to make conscious efforts towards genuine a grassroots development in the sport.
The ex-international told the Nigeria News Agency this was now more than necessary in view of the unpredictable performances of senior national teams at international competitions in recent times.
The former defender of the defunct Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta and the old Green Eagles said the situation was more worrisome in view of the possible long-term effect.
“As long as we keep ignoring the grassroots, even if a Pep Gardiola is our coach, it won’t matter. Often times we don’t follow through on our plans.
“Check on all countries that are performing greatly now, and you will discover that they have a solid grassroots programme and they followed it through. That’s dedication,” he said.
On how handlers and sponsors of school sports competitions can be groomed into senior national teams, Omokaro said a lot was dependent on commitment from sports managers.
“Most people don’t get it. I strongly believe that the partnership between the Nigerian school sports body should be solid, because majority of us were discovered through this medium.
“Often times we (in Nigeria) misplace what our priorities should be, and this has affected every sector in this country.
“Even when talented players are identified, someone somewhere is thinking about how he or she can dubiously manipulate that.
“And, this is everywhere in our country, not only in sports. We don’t want to put in the work, but we want the glory.
“Most clubs in Europe and the like have feeder teams. So, we should ask ourselves `how are our teams faring in our domestic league?’
“All talk and no action will get us nowhere. There’s no need for any congress, what we need to do to be at par with our foreign counterparts we all know.
“Are we committed enough? Can we shun corruption and nepotism?” he said.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa and Olawale Alabi)
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