The Director, International Tennis Academy, Mr. Godwin Kienka opined that most of Nigeria’s problem in the sport sector are self-inflicted.
Mr. Kienka, speaking at the Tennis Complex of the National Stadium in Abuja after the NCC Tennis League match between Team Ndoma-Egba and Team Offikwu last weekend, bemoaned the lack of selfless, knowledgeable and fair-minded administrators in the sport sector in Nigeria.
“People aren’t looking at the bigger picture, it’s always about themselves,” he said. “And this hurts the sponsors and athletes, especially. The athletes don’t have the peace of mind; they’re torn between two warring factions.”
“The problem of sports in Nigeria is human. If we had selfless, knowledgeable and fair-minded administrators who put the interests of our youth and the sport first, Nigeria will be a sporting power in the world.”
“It’s only an administrative problem,” Mr. Kienka said. “You have to have not just knowledge but an understanding of what it takes to grow a player from zero in tennis to world class. It is not the same knowledge you need in athletics or basketball. But here, you have people who when they fail in athletics, go to basketball, fail in football and go to volleyball. And they want to be there forever, even when they are not producing.”
He also lauded the Minister of Sports for his straightforwardness and purposefulness in handling the sector.
“We have a minister who is purposeful, who is putting the interest of sports first. He is not compromising, he’s not cheating, he’s not embezzling funds.”
Mr. Kienka in his interview, further praised the reforms that has been put in place to curb the rot in the sector, saying, “luckily, with the new reforms that are in place, whether you like it or not, the rejigging of the process of electing federating officials is a major reform and the results of that reform will maybe start to show in the next two cycles of elections.”
The summary of the entire reform is to put in place a sport sector that is private sector-driven, coaches-led, athletes-centred with policy guidance from the government.