The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has called on the private sector to be more involved in the development of youth sports, explaining that their contribution will boost national sports, reduce crime rate and increase brand loyalty.
Speaking through its First Vice President, Mr. Seyi Akinwunmi at the kick-off of this year’s Cowbell Football Academy (CFA) Summer Camp, an initiative sponsored by Cowbell Milk in Lagos, the federation said Nigeria needed a consensus to create a sustainable youth development plan, adding that the stability of key organisations is important to drafting such blueprint.
Akinwunmi, who is also the Chairman of Lagos State Football Association and NFF Youth Development Committee, said initiatives like Cowbell Football Academy is relevant to building an enduring nation. He, however, lamented that such programmes are increasingly becoming rare.
Unveiling the three-week intensive training for primary and secondary school children, Akinwunmi noted: “Initiatives like this are lacking across board. This is a laudable programme brought to reality by Promasidor Nigeria. We need to get everybody on the same page to harness the potential in corporate sponsorship in developing youth sports. People need to know the enormous benefits in this area.”
According to him, the country would also need to create an inclusive structure to attract the private sector to youth development.
Also commending Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Nduka Irabor, a sports enthusiast and former Chairman of the League Management Company, said: “The only way to start developing the sports sector is starting early like Promasidor Nigeria has done.”
Irabor, who was also Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Communications, lamented that while many corporate entities are interested in celebrating success, not many bothered about the all-important grassroots sports.
“We cannot produce the next Kanu Nwankwo or Austin Jay Jay Okocha except we start grooming young talents at tender age. Unfortunately, many corporate organisations do not want to sponsor grassroots football. All the banks and big manufacturing companies had football clubs those days. They may not necessarily be involved like Promasidor Nigeria has done via CFA.”
Head of Legal/Public Relations, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Andrew Enahoro said the company is committed to the dream of Cowbell Football Academy and expanding its scope despite harsh economy as a result of its desire to positively impact Nigerian youths.
“This is just one of our youth-centric corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Through Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics Television Quiz Competition, we are also stimulating young people’s interest in mathematics. For us, it is not only about bottom-line but also about the future of the Nigerian child,” he further said.
According to the Cowbell Football Academy Rector, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, 250 kids would participate in the programme, which is the fifth in its series. He said Cowbell Football Academy was committed to addressing the poor-coaching problem affecting the country’s football.