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Back to the Nigeria Premier League

For two weeks running I have devoted my column to the need to give some attention to other sports.

The response I must confess has been phenomenal.

At the last count, we just journalists got more blame than government, especially the ministry of sports and National Sports Commission for relegating other sports to the back ground.

That if the ministries were to ignore other sports, either out of ignorance or factors or otherwise, thee media has the where withal to take up the fight and win.

Last week also I did tell you that I was expectind a response from a celebrated athletics coach Tobiase Igwe, alias Toblow.

He finally got in touch and today I will publish his piece unedited.

Before then let me share with you my experience last week as the Nigeria Premier League made to resume all over the country.

Much as I symphatise with the Board of the NPL, much as I have some respect for them for trudging on without funds, the result has been a not too well organized league even with issues that border mainly on organization and not necessarily funds..

By today I intend to dispatch to the NPL leadership my observations on the league which I believe cuts across all the venues.

Specifically clubs are still squeezing four referees and one match commissioner into one car!

Substitution boards have disappeared. Referees appear at pre matc meetings in rags, technical benches none existent and indiscipline the order of the day.

On finance perhaps this explains why a referee will get to match venue by midnight because he has to hit he road joining three different cities.

A match commissioner that needs more than fifty thousand, airport taxis inclusive will jump into a car to be able to “make something” out of the eighty thousand naira allocated to him

The result is corruption, wholesale. Etc….etc…

Back to the present

I now invite Coach Toblow to share with us on how we can get back to glory days.

How we had world beaters in

athletics by Tobias Igwe

Just straight to the points.

In the past; we use to have world beaters in Nigeria athletics but now, we are struggling to win a medal at any world level competition.


1.Non adequate camping period/facilities

2.Not all Governors are keen on sports

3.Coaches should be employed on contract basis

4.Games masters of primary and secondary schools should go for coaching courses or seminars

5.Federal Government should attach tested coaches to our Universities

6.State Government should remove indigenization policy when looking for a good coach.

7.Governor’s special assistants for sports should be bold enough to tell their bosses that sportsmen and women need a lot of motivation financially and otherwise

8.Commissioners of sports in every state should be able to visit the athletes during training sessions and not to go there by invitation. At least they should visit them 2_3 times a week.

9.Every school should have some sporting facilities. Improvisation will do.

10.Every games master or mistress should know how to impact knowledge for about 4_5 sports.

11.The age group competition should be compulsory for every state. Any state that cheats should be sanctioned or penalized.

12.The presidency should make every state to have a functional stadium not substandard one, so that competitions can spread around the federation.

13.Coaches should also benefit from federal sponsorship in terms of coaching courses.

14.We should use long term approach camping to achieve good results, the culture of late starting and fire brigade approach should be eliminated.

15.We should also think about weather condition of our region before camping, because in the South of Nigeria, rain falls heavily from July – October and this should form part of our planning.

16.Please note this – When I left Enugu State because of their indigenous policy in 1997, since that time, Enugu state cannot boast of three quality runners till date. But I got 9 Gold medals for them in athletics alone during 1996 National Sports Festival. My going away also affected Nigeria till now. Paul please try and pay a visit to Abia state and see things for yourself, and you will praise me for bringing up stars even from the roughest of surfaces.

Remember that Nigeria got two Gold medals in Singapore at Youth Olympics Games through Abians Nkiruka Florence Uwakwe and Josephine Omaka 200/100 meters respectively. They were nurtured and developed on the Umuahia mud ground.


We should look for people like Dr. Awoture Eleyae, Isaac Akioye, Chief Jerry Enyeazu, Dr. Omo – Osagie, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, Abraham Ordia, Mr Dan Anajakpo J. K Randle, Alhaji Adejumo, these were extra_ordinary sports administrators who used their money, resources and time for sports men and women, ironically ¾ of the above names came from the old Midwest, and as long as they delivered, where they come from does not matter. Dr. Patrick Ekeji is also one person in that class.

Other potentials are:

Dan Ngerem

Segun Odegbami

Al Hassan Yakmut N.S.C

Elias Gora of N.S.C

Alhaji Sanni Toro from Bauchi

The above mentioned names should be engaged always even after retirement from service, for their experience.

These are brief thoughts which if brought into focus will return us to glory days. Presently, I feel bad that we are not doing what we know we should do.

My frustration even extends to reward culture. You will not believe that after contributing to Nigeria’s best Olympic outing in Atlanta, my dues have not been given to me till date.

Thanks for this opportunity and God bless.

Tobiase Igwe

Deputy Director of Sports

Racing Games

Abia State Sports Council

Back to my hotel nightmares

Arrived Aba Tuesday next week and checked into a popular hotel ( Name with held).

The porter followed me with three keys and obliged a choice.

I told him to offer the best and he said I needed to decide on my own.

Room 178 was ok ONLY that the hot water tap was faulty.

In Room 180 everything worked fine, ONLY the intercom that could not get to the restaurant and the front desk.

The porter now advised me to settle in Room 179 where the aircondition was not too cold. ( after all not everybody liked their air condition to be too cold! )

Then came the decider. That for the past one week they have invited the carpenter but he is yet to arrive to fix the toilet door, so he advises me not to close the door when I use the convenience lest I lock myself in.

I did not know when the cab driver that brought me to the hotel burst out laughing.

My nightmare continued in Uyo on Friday evening when I was forced to spend the night after Aero unceremoniously cancelled their Lagos bound flight to the horror of all their passengers.

The moment I settled into the hotel in the high brow Ewet Housing Estate, a young man knocked and came in with a bucket of water… “ Sir just in case you want to shower….we have a SMALL PROBLEM and we are expecting our plumber tomorrow……

See you next week.


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