Sen. John Enoh, the Minister of Sports Development in Nigeria has called for an intensive focus on Nigerian sports to create promising footpaths for the indigenous coaches, and the players, to achieve their goals.
This demand was made on Tuesday in Abuja when Gabriel Opuana, president of the Sports Coaches Association of Nigeria, visited him.
Sen. John Enoch’s was quoted as saying that coaching is a critical aspect of sports development that must be attended to if Nigeria desires to make history as the ‘golden age’ of the 90’s.
‘There must be a conscious plan for the progress and development of our coaches because the quality of our teams in different sports is largely going to be a function of the quality of coaching.
‘The sports sector is a very dynamic one with the teams increasingly and ever-changing, so you need to be up to date with your coaching,’ he said.
Enoh promised to work with the relevant stakeholders to prioritize and strengthen the coaching sector, with the purpose of building it up to international standards.
‘The Ministry of Sports Development is going to give a lot of attention to the coaching aspect of our sports development.
‘A lot of time, we pay more attention to the athletes themselves than to those who produce these athletes, those who bring out the best of these athletes.
‘So it is important we re-direct our focus,’ he said.
Enoh said plans were underway to reposition the National Institute for Sports (NIS), starting with exploring ways to partner with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the areas of training and research.
He thanked the coaches’ association for the visit while charging them to do more as critical stakeholders in the sports eco-system.
Earlier, Opuana said the association was an umbrella body for all Nigerian coaches both within and outside the country.
He said properly trained coaches could serve as the catalyst for Nigeria’s resurgence in sports.
‘It is difficult to think of the future of sports in Nigeria without the active participation of qualified coaches in such a way that their dignity and integrity are acknowledged and guaranteed through access to quality education, jobs, sports amenities, and facilities,’ he said.
Opuana urged the minister to set up a committee of the private sector to raise funds for the development of sports and achieving the desired progress.
He also stressed the need for early preparations for Nigeria to do well in the forthcoming African Games in Accra and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
He said that the partnership with other stakeholders with continue, creating a supportive environment for the success of sports coaches, and train the best out of athletes who will compete at the highest level.