Former Super Eagles Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, has said that Nigeria and some other African countries’ facilities would always fail to meet the required CAF/FIFA standards for hosting major international matches as long as non-professionals are saddled with the responsibility of maintaining them.
The former FIFA/CAF instructor said most stadiums nationwide are substandard because some of the sports managers do not know what is required for such facilities to become of international standard.
Speaking on the backdrop of CAF’s rejection of the Adokie Aimiesiamaka Stadium and Enyimba Stadium for Rivers United and Enyimba’s African inter-club competitions respectively, Onigbinde described as bad news the clubs’ forced relocation to the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, to play their international matches.
“This also happens at the international level, where a country is moved to another country to play its home games. It portrays Africa as a backward continent that cannot get the basic things right.
“There are specific requirements needed by CAF and FIFA to approve any stadium to host games. I believe in the case of Nigeria, it is poor leadership, both at the federal and state level,” he said.
Pointing at the appointment of the leadership of the country’s sports as a big contributor to the problem, Onigbinde said: “Over the years, appointment of the minister of sports has been done through who you know and connections from high levels of government. People are not appointed to manage sports based on competence, professionalism and positive track records in sports development. This also happens at the state level.
“How can you expect stadiums to be okay in the country when sports administrators are not keen to work out modalities to get things right? It takes passion to go the extra mile to make things work in Nigeria.
“Countries that appoint the right people to manage sports don’t face stadium challenges. They utilise the grants they get from FIFA and other sources to develop football in their countries.”
Onigbinde said it would take quality leadership to improve the standard of sports in Nigeria.