By Richard Animam
The lack of a goodÂ Â nursery system inÂ Â Nigerian sports over the years led to a sharp dropÂ in the quality of talents, which has inadvertently led to a serious decline in sports in the country. Owing to this and other factors, Nigeria now occupies an unenviable position in continental and globalÂ sports.
Nigerian sportsmen and women who have won international laurels of recent had to travel abroad to train with modern facilities. Here in Nigeria, only a select sport can boast of modern facilities and in some cases, these facilities haveÂ been left to rot.
These days,Â onlyÂ tales of past glories and how the inability of sports administrators or the dysfunctional system have led to the free fall of Nigerian sports at both local and international competitions are told.
These and many other reasons, according to AdeniyiÂ Ladega, CEO of Christus Sports International (CSI) are responsible for their decision to take the bull by the horn and go back to the grassroots.
â€œIn the past while we were growing up, there used to be a football competition in Lagos for secondary schools called the Principalâ€™s Cup. This competition due to its acceptance produced a lot of talents who went on to represent Nigeria at international football competitions. But the end came when some schools, in their bid to win all cost, started the use of mercenaries. This gave rise to negative apathy on the part of some people. Our generation stopped taking sports seriously. But all these, we intend to change with the Top Town Challengeâ€, Ladega said.
For two days, Saturday July 4th and Sunday 5th, 2009,Â Anthony Village Sports ground will come alive asÂ the three-day community sports event tagged Top Town Challenge kicks off with a fitness walk with Governor Raji Fashola flagging off the walk.
â€œAfter the walk which starts at 7am, by 9am the main event which will feature four sports-Soccer, Basketball, Table Tennis and Sprint and Relays, starts.Â The event will feature athletes from different age groups- U-10 and U-14. The old boys will also compete in the tennis eventâ€, he said, adding,Â â€œSome of the activities billed for Sunday are the Miss Top Town beauty pageant,Â an awards night, family Tug of war and Most Outstanding Male hair style.â€