There are many problems that confront the development of football in many parts of the world and especially on the African continent and Nigeria has her fair share of them.
Aside from money, poor facilities alongside coaching standards and lack of interest from the private sector have cast doubts over where the future lies.
Many young men and women are hurting as they get shut out by unscrupulous coaches and agents thereby denying them opportunity to play.
It is obvious that thousands of young people are hurting all over our nation by being denied legitimate opportunities to grow into football stars. Talking about it seems to help but concerted efforts must be put in place if things are to change.
Enter China who may have found the solution Nigeria desperately needs.
China is leaving no stone unturned with its plan to develop the game of football to optimal level as the country intends to open 50,000 football schools by 2025.
The Chinese Ministry of Education said in a statement that it wants to ensure that the initial goal of opening 20,000 football schools by 2020. Instead, the ministry will try to open the schools by the end of this year.
Each school could train on average 1,000 students, eventually creating up to 50 million players, Wang Dengfeng, vice-president of the China Football Association, said according to the state-owned publication People’s Daily.
“This is a solid way to select football talent for our future reserves. Improving Chinese football is no longer just a dream,” Wang said. China currently has 13,381 football schools, the ministry said.
The ambition is to become giants in the game, and President Xi Jinping, who has listed a series of benchmarks for Chinese football, including qualifying for, hosting and eventually winning the World Cup.
With the recent import of foreign legions into the Chinese Super League, it is clear that China wants to develop the nation’s football and make an impact at world stage bearing in mind that the nation is unlikely to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It could also be recalled that sometime in 2015, the Chinese government released a comprehensive plan for football development which gained widespread international attention and brought much discussion of the links between the sport and politics in China.
Cameron Wilson, a UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer who has been writing about Chinese football for over a decade, elaborated that the plan accurately identifies many of the key issues affecting the game in the country, but it will be years before any measure of its effectiveness can be taken.
The document read:
The General Office of the State Council publishes the ‘Chinese football reform and development program’.
To: All people’s governments of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, all departments under the State Council and all subordinate institutions:
The Central Committee and the State Council have agreed the ‘Chinese football reform and development program’ and is requesting its implementation.
‘Chinese football reform and development program’
Since Comrade Xi Jinping become general secretary in the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), he has placed the development of football on the agenda in order to build China as a great sports nation. General Secretary Xi Jinping has on several occasions pointed out that the Chinese football industry has to be developed. In addition, Premier Li Keqiang has attached great importance to those who work in the football and other sports industries. The State Council has conducted several studies. The reform and development of football is an unprecedented opportunity.
Football has a great social impact and is loved by the great masses.
The development and revitalization of football will improve the physical condition of the Chinese people, enrich cultural life, promote the spirit of patriotism and collectivism, cultivate sports culture, and develop the sports industry. This has a great significance for the realization of the dream of becoming a powerful sports nation, and great importance for the development of the economy, society and culture. Chinese football has already achieved good results in Asia and the world. And Nigeria may do well to learn.
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