By Paul Bassey

If you are a member of the sports fraternity, occupying one post or the other, you must have been approached by the media, whose interest is stereotype, has been predictably stereotype at a time like this.

The question you must have been asked is. “ ….Please can you review sports in Nigeria in 2013?” I don’t know what your answer was, mine has always been constant. “What sports?”

Forgive my ignorance, “ Yes what sports ?”   Since sports is my culture medium readers would have expected me to inform and educate them on what progress our sports made especially in the year gone by.

Again, I repeat having to get to Nairobi, Kenya to read that our Basketball players were involved in a continental competition. Patrick Omoriodion,the spokesperson for basketball, provided an answer. That he was blank as far as these competitions were concerned. That rather than include a media person on the trip, someone else would be taken and that even for them to send you results to disseminate is a problem.

The administrators of these sports on the other hand accuse the media of focusing on football to the detriment of other sports. Read a journalist. “ …What do they want us to report? Have they won a regional or continental competition and we failed to report same…? They should go and work…..”

Yes, I have not lost sight of the fact that most of these associations and federations have just come out of elections and some chairmen and Presidents said they have spent their early days in office “…….developing infrastructure and awareness for their sports and building development plans….”   The picture that is painted is that of a vacuum, of non existing structures before now. What about chairmen who had been re elected? Too bad.

The Presidents, Chairmen and Board members are the people the journalists should go to, get them to tell us what they have done and achieved so far. Perhaps the National Sports Commission should as a matter of policy get all the associations to meet with the media quarterly, to be able to interact and share thoughts.

What about the media men in the Federations? We should know them, have their numbers and mail addresses, get them to tell us the programmes of their different boards. If there are three journalists who have consistently given the media enough to feed on, they must be Morankiyo Abodunrin of the U17, Ben Alaiya of the Super Eagles and Demola Olajire the spokesperson of the Nigeria Football Federation.

They have so convinced us that we now swear by them. Journalists in the country no longer read and edit their scripts. They just slam them on, verbatim, so much that if you read one report in a paper, you have read them all. If, this was the industry level of all the media personnel attached to the sports Federations, you can imagine how well informed we all would have been.

What was sports progress in 2013? Permit us to hide under the unprecedented success of football in the year just gone by, after all to many Nigerians football is synonymous with sports. The Nations Cup, qualification for the World Cup, the Global U-17 triumph , first time qualification for CHAN   in three attempts, Women U-17 qualification to FIFA World Cup, Women Under 20 on the verge of another World Cup qualification……….

I remember the National Youth Games in Abuja, a laudable first that must be sustained. It is not enough to discover stars, they must be tracked and trained. Their skills must be honed and their techniques fine tuned.

This brings me to the laudable Mobil programme that I have been privileged to handle for schools and colleges in Akwa Ibom State. This year we decided to introduce   spikes   shoes to the students , took them to the   tartan tracks of the U.J.Esuene Stadium in Calabar, got starting blocks and commensurate equipment in other track and field disciplines and invited top coaches in the country to put them through the drills.

Talk of a laudable Corporate Social Responsibility, one that other concerns and states must imbibe.

The result stunned even me. Did not think that in under three weeks we will be able to produce national beaters. Talk of a laudable Corporate Social Responsibility, one that other concerns and states must imbibe.

The year 2013 was the year that ONLY three state governors got regular mention as “Sports loving governors of the year” (Messrs Uduaghan, Imoke and Fashola) What ever happened to the rest?

the year 2014 from January will again start with bright prospects for football, that of winning CHAN at first qualification and going on to do better than previous World Cup attempts……..other sports must key in and perform…..states must stand up and be represented, so that this time next year, by the grace of God Almighty we will have something to talk and write about.

To all my readers, I wish you a fun and favour- filled 2014, one that will see the fulfillment of aspirations untold, even the corporate sports glory of our great country.

Please don’t drink and drive. IF you must drink and drive, drink water!

See you next week.

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