By Abdulgafar Oladimeji
Former Super Eagles and Kano Pillars veteran striker, Ishaya Jatau has opine that government involvement in football is the bane behind the poor quality and slow pace development of the game in Nigeria.
Jatau in a chat with sports writers at Sani Abacha stadium, during the zonal play off of the National Veterans Cup, said the shift in the ownership of football clubs from private and corporate individuals property to its present style of lopsided ownership has led to the fallen standard of the game in Nigeria.
He said “ before now, the clubs were owned by wealthy philanthropists, or they were owned by communities and corporate entities, they spend their money on the clubs by buying the players, the clubs before now wanted to have the best players and brought on board their clubs the best legs availble.
“not just that the players were the best, the players in Nigeria league in those days were committed, you hardly see players just moving from one club to another, they were committed to their clubs in physical and in spirit, there was a strong bond between the players, the club and the fans, today that is no longer the case.
“now everybody is crying that, our players from our league don’t make it to the national team, when I was playing for Iwuayanwu Nationale, seven of us, were playing in the Super Eagles, when I was playing for Kano Pillars, three of us were regular players in the national team.
“I remember, a scenerio, when late Stephen Keshi came from Europe for national assignment, he meet us at the national team, he asked my self and late Aminu Abdul, if we have ever played abroad, because he saw the way we were playing with passion, commitment and passion for the game
“today, the players and coaches don’t have the required confidence, what we have now are digital players, whose only love is for money , this conquered their love for the game, their fans and their community.”
Jatau further opine that the league club ownership must be returned to private and corporate communities, the players must be reoriented to move the game forward. And return back our game to its rightful place in all spheres of the game.