By NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY, Abakaliki
As part of efforts to proffer sustainable solutions to the challenges bedeviling sports development in Nigeria, The Nigeria Football Fund (TNFF) has concluded arrangements to partner with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) to find a lasting solution to the ugly development.
According to release signed by the Secretary General,Jude Opara and made available to our reporter in Abakaliki,Ebonyi state capital.
He hinted that representatives of the two bodies last weekend held a webinar where the concept was fully x-rayed.
Executive Director of TNFF, Nelson Ine in his presentation said the whole idea behind the initiative is to end once and for all the usual embarrassing moment where Nigeria athletes usually struggle to have adequate trainings ahead international competitions due to lack of funds.
According to him, though the name connotes football, the scheme will cater for every sporting event in the country.
Ine said that the fund which is packaged to meet the expectations of Nigeria sports stakeholders and investors, is structured in line with international best practices incorporating the four elements of investment, infrastructure, incentives and policy.
“The fund is multibillion-naira project to stimulate the evolution of Nigeria Football Economy where football and other sports as well as music and movie industries will command huge private sector participation.”
Some of the challenges to be tackled by the initiative include: scarcity of funds, Poor Human Capital Development, Inefficient Management of Assets Poor Welfare packages, Interference in Football Administration and Infrastructure Deficit.
The scheme has equally set for itself two key performance Indicators (KPLs) as a benchmark for the existence of a veritable football economy.
The first is that in five years, government’s involvement in sports funding will become reduced drastically.
Secondly, it will account for the minimum contribution of 1% to the nation GDP in the next 10 years.
The project which is open for people of all walks of life to invest has the advantage of enhancing sports development, contribute to tax and GDP, help to unearth hidden talents, enhance employment prospects and by extension reduce youth restiveness, build national unity and cohesion, among many others.
In his contribution, the Secretary General of SWAN, *Jude Opara* who led the SWAN team assured of the readiness of members of the Association to use their media to contribute to the growth of the initiative.
“As sports writers, our primary interest is the development of sports in the country. Over the years, we have collectively and individually contributed to the growth of the sports sector, and I want to assure you that we are not tired of doing what we know how to do best.” He concluded