Nigeria needs Grassroots return

Ambassador Rimdap Calls for Return to Grassroots

Duro Ikhazuagbe
15 September 2009

Lagos — Following Nigeria’s poor showing at the last IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, a call has gone to policy formulators to reassess how sports is been handled in the country.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Abdul Bin Rimdap who was physically present at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin to see the country’s representatives crash out of the various events believes that only a return to the grassroots to fish for fresh talents can remedy the situation.

“It is not a good thing at all to see our athletes crash out of the various events, without the prospect of any medal. It was not like this in the past,” reasoned the high commissioner.

Ambassador Rimdap was particularly disturbed that a country like Jamaica was taking all the shine with its population. “The whole of Jamaica is not up to one big state in Nigeria. With our population in the excess of 140 million people, I wonder why we cannot return to the grassroots to look for talents that will do Nigeria proud.”
Although he agreed that provision of top of the range sports facilities were crucial to success, Ambassador Rimdap wants serious government/ private sector collaboration in the move to reposition sports in the country.

“It is not something we should leave for the government alone. The private sector must be involved in the rescue mission for our sports,” stressed the ambassador who has served in eight other countries in various capacities.

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He lamented the disappearance of playgrounds and sports facilities in most public schools. “If you go to most schools, most of the sports facilities are gone. It is either new structures have been erected there or that weeds have overgrown what used to be sports grounds.”

On the readiness of the embassy to handle travel papers of Germans interested in coming to Nigeria next month for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Ambassador Rimdap said there was no problem as the automated method of applying for visas online has made it easy.

" We are ready for the Under-17 World Cup. In just 24 hours, genuine applicants will be issued with their visas to come to Nigeria for the competition,’ concludes the envoy.

Indeed. Nigeria should dominate Jamaica on paper…should