Thursday, 13 June 2013

Kaffo laments slow sports growth

Former Commonwealth table tennis queen, Bose Kaffo has expressed worries over the steady decline of Nigeria’s sports despite abundant talents and resources.
She expressed this during a telephone conversation at the week, saying that urgent steps should be taken to stem the slide.
“In the 1980s and 1990s, our strength was integrity. We got sponsors because we wanted to perform well in championships. Then the administrators were accountable for any money placed in their trust. That was one of the strongest points that propelled the game in the country then. It is a pity that sports generally is dying gradually by the day. It must not be allowed to die now that the world has truly become a global village with the benefit of modern communication facilities.
‘Sports deal with communication because it is dynamic and has one of the best facilities for publicity and advert. I think this is the time the telecommunication giants in the country and other multi-nationals have to support the sector in the country. This is not the time for lip service and ambush marketing,” she said.
She added that she is disturbed, because nothing seems to be going well with sports as growth and development have been very slow. Instead of States Sports Councils increasing their drive to turn out quality athletes as it used to be, they are recycling old athletes.
Kaffo recalled that when she played table tennis   with others for instance, the game was one among the powerful sport. “The players had fun playing it. The administrators were committed like the players. Where there is any difference, both parties came together sincerely and honestly get them resolved permanently for the love of the game and country. There was   honesty among the administrators such that you can hold them by their words. That is not to say that it was all full of roses, but they were more matured. One may be tempted to believe that it may be some of the reasons why sports progressed that period at the states and national levels. In fact, we had support from everywhere.”
On how competitions strived in those days, she said: “We had so many championships then, so many of them that I can’t remember now. We had open championships in which our champions were respected. Teams were taken outside our shores for tournaments and they were all coming back with results.
“I recall that competitions were organised to up the performance of the athletes ahead of any game. Sometimes it could be monthly or yearly. It is so sad that things are not happening this way again, especially to sports that would have been useful to this great country just as it is in other parts of the World.
“If federations can organise themselves properly, sponsors will fall over themselves. I think the main thing is in the hands of the federations, the door is open and improved facilities are available now. So they should get things organised,” she said.

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