By Ikeddy Isiguzo
IT is only in Nigeria that we expect success to happen because we have prayed, as if we are the only people who pray. Rather we could be about the only people who have commercialised praying. Prayers are for a fee, and when they do not produce victories we expect from a football game, for instance, it is adduced that the money paid was not enough to interest the Almighty, on whose behalf the prophet was paid.
The obvious solution is to increase the vote for prayer, it is real business with some people. Fro the records, the vote fro such prayer is the budget for tactical.
Our search for sports successes is mirred in consistence striving for the absurd by a collection of men and women who abhor accepting responsibility for anything, except the few marginal successes that come our wayÂ hardly through any planning.
Dr. Ken Anugweje ( sorry, I mis-spelt the name last week), President of the Nigeria Universities Games Association, NUGA, says the key to future successes is a dedicated application of science to sports. The successful countries are applying science to sports (they have been doing for decades). The down side of this is the steady influences of high performance drugs, most of them, illegal that have become part of that system.
The type of science Dr. Anujekwu has in mind are applicable research findings on our performances in sports, use of performance enhancing technique in training (our brothers in Ethiopia and Kenya and using the advantages of their environment, altitude to master the distancesÂ long and middle, they step into sprints sometimes).
Science would include psychology, biomechanics, nutrition, early introduction of movements to children (dances, gymnastics, ballet which have health as well as intellectual benefits).
During sessions of the National Technical Working Group of the Sports Committee of Vision 2020, these matters were roundly debated. The challenge remained how to move from merely feeding people (only nutrition, which we cannot even afford now) to ensuring that they are eating the right food, not what is available. It really has to be certain foods for certain sports, in certain quantities and quality at certain times.
Precision is the name of the game. We are yet to settle more basic issues like administration. We cannot programme ordinary things training. We cannot appreciate the intricacies of organising a game. We fail woefully by all standards of engagement in sports. If we win, it hurts us, if we lose, it tears us apart.
Layers of inbuilt inefficiencies glorify the worst aspects of our unreadiness to leave the ancient ways of doing things. Sports have progressed from art to a science and ultimately to a business that runs with the full complements of a serious enterprise. The primordial interests in primitive capitalism promote thieves masquerading as experts (they really are in ruining things).
We have gone so bad that the point is muted often that we cannot change. We are so low in most indices for measuring progress that any seeming attempt at leaving the morass is celebrated for progress. There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but the concerns centre on the length of this tunnel. When shall we get to the end.
There are good reasons to be despondent. People have their right to be angry about a country that fritters away opportunities with relish and dedicated abandon.
A country that channels all its attention to the number of barrels of crude oil it can sell cannot attain greatness in any sphere of life, least of all sports, where ambition, discipline, self-denial, determination, competitiveness and dedication to details are important.
The devastating effects of our overdrawn sports (unreplenished sports) stock, galloping technology and primitive leadership steeped in the distant past are killing our sports.
Probably more devastating then these is the self-deceit freely mouthed that we are still among the world’s best.
Next Week: Success Available To Dreamers Alone
EagletsÂ We Hug Low Standards
WHEN the Eaglets escaped defeat from Germany we awarded them a winning bonus. If they win the Cup, we should hand over the country’s oil fields to them for the next two years. Once a country anchors its standards on a low base that cannot distinguish between a victory and failure, it has set itself up for failure.
Is it not fraud for the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, to budget $500 for a win and pay the same amount for a draw? Someone should be asking officials of the NFA to refund the money, and pay the players from their own purses, to express how impressed they were with Sunday’s encounter against Germany. We cannot get far rewarding mediocrity; it is exactly what got us where we are today.
Minister’s Foreign Patriotism
SPORTS Minister Sanni Ndanusa makes a great display of his patriotism. Behind his desk, from where he administers Nigerian sports, hangs the purple basketball jersey of an American NBA team. I would not publiciseÂ the team by naming it. What do we make of this? Can you imagine an American sports official promoting Nigerian sports in this bizarre manner? We really have a lot of work to do.
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