Despite their inability to secure financial support from the Sports Ministry, Nigeria Table Tennis boys and girls impressed at the just concluded Junior & Cadet Championship in Algiers.
Nigeria finished the tourney with four silver and four bronze medals with a six-man team behind Egypt, and also qualified for the 2016 ITTF World Junior Championship holding in Cape Town, South Africa in November.
It was reported that a philanthropist who would like to remain anonymous foot the team’s bill to Algiers. Firstly, it is commendable that Nigerians are coming to the aid of associations in terms of funding. Secondly, it is interesting to know that we have a National Sports Commission that cannot meet up with its responsibilities. However, this situation could be likened to a mother who neglects her child for neighbours to cater for.
The nations Table Tennis Federation had earlier sponsored some players to the Egypt Open prior to the Algiers trip.
Funding has remained a major discourse with Nigerian sporting associations. Some blame it on the associations’ inability to market their own teams (brands) to the business world with emphasis on the government being the major sponsor. In all modesty, the question is what is there to market? Is it the enabling environment for corporate world or the benefit they stand to gain, or should it just be a corporate social responsibility?
It should be noted that sports industry if well harnessed could impact on the economy just like the entertainment world, and can also be used as tool of engagement. It is laughable how sporting associations would have planed programmes and would be unable to execute due to lack of funding. This trend cuts across all sporting associations in the country, not just Table Tennis. To mention a few; the Handball Federation could not organize a league due to lack of funds, the recent revelation by former coach of the Super Eagles about salary and funding will also not go unmentioned.
Nigerians are aware of the sports minister’s busy schedule especially with football and the recent crisis which rocked the Football House, it is high time he began to focus more on other issues. He need not to be reminded that he was appointed minister of sports and not for football.
Let us save our associations from the shame of almost not participating in continental events due to lack of funds. Olympics is around the corner, are the participating teams getting required support?