Nigerian Sports-In Need Of Professionalism.
July 25, 2010
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The basic problem with Nigerian sports is that it is conceived and run on an amateur footing.Under this dispensation,the government views the sports community as a talent pool that exists only to produce athletes that would represent the country in international sports competitions.Since not much private sector financial involvement is possible under these conditions,the Government ends up carrying the financial burden of running sports alone . This is wrong.What is required is root and branch professionalization of sports.This means both athletes and administrators should be professional.
The professional model would underpin a view of sports as an industry where the talented and gifted can have a fulfilling and rewarding career,one that is as valid as holding down a job in any other industry whether it is Banking,It,Oil and Gas,e.t.c.Unlike the current amateur system,which seems to attract only those with no real options in life(mostly people with low-class background),a richly rewarding and gratifying sports industry based on the professional model would attract far more people,including members of the middle class who would bring not only their athletic ability,but also their education and administrative nous.
While Government funding will be needed in it’s early years,a sports industry that is big and attractive enough to bring about the involvement of the middle-class(as athletes and administrators),will surely get the attention of the private sector and will quickly begin to pay it’s way.The larger the industry,the more quickly it will reach critical mass:at this point it is generating enough money to obviate the necessity for continued Government financing .Also because of middle-class involvement,it will have enough innate administrative talent to make Government interference with the running of sports unnecessary.
Professionalization of sports would not only mean less Government distractions,as Government would not need to delegate it’s scarce resources(money or men) to the running of sports,but it would also lead to the creation of a huge industry, one that would create a great number of good jobs at so many levels:think not only of the athletes but also of the coaches,administrators,sports goods makers and marketers,sports journalists,e.t.c.Furthermore because so many people would be gainfully involved,the talent pool would be that much larger and deeper than is the case today.The deeper and larger the talent pool,the greater the chances of producing the sort of high-quality athletes that would productively represent Nigeria at international competitions.