Wahab Bankole, a Sports journalist with over fifteen years experience has covered many local and international competitions including Brazil 2014 World cup and 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa. He is currently the Media Manager of Sunshine Stars of Akure, Ondo State. He spoke with thesheet.ng’s Dayo Ojerinde in an exclusive interview, excerpts;
In your own estimation how will you access Sunshine Fc in the NPFL so far this season?
The Akure based team is with the least defeat in the on-going league. Sunshine have lost only 5 matches this season. Four (4) of the defeats were recorded at away while one (1) was recorded at home.The team is also on a 7 match unbeaten runs in the league.
Sunshine Stars at the moment have won nine (9) matches, drew nine (9) and lost five (5) in the current soccer season.
The Akure based team was eliminated in the round of 16 of the 2016 Federations Cup via the lottery of penalty shootout, 7-8 to Akwa United.
Do you think officiating has improved in the Nigerian League compared to what we used to have in the past? In what areas do you think NPFL referee should work on?
We must appreciate the efforts of the league organizers in Nigeria, the League Management Company, (LMC) making the league competitive and glamorous.
The officiating has improved tremendously compared to the time past as we now witness more teams winning matches away from their home grounds, Sunshine Stars one of them.
But, there is still big room for improvement as we still have some bad eggs in the league who are referees. They throw professionalism into the dust bin simply because of the general menace of corruption. We hope the LMC will continue to monitor the activities of these disgruntled elements with eagles eyes.
Regular seminars and workshops as well as exposure will help improve the performance of the referees.
Why do you think individuals are shying away from funding Nigerian clubs?
The economic situation and the society at large did not encourage private ownerships of club sides in the country. Lack of encouragement which include absence of sponsors is also a problem.
The syndrome of home team must always win which is gradually being eliminated used to be a factor. After spending huge amount of money to float a football club in Nigeria, what do you get in returns at the end?
As a Media person who has covered Nigeria league for a long time, what future do you see in the Nigerian Professional League?
The future looks very bright for Nigerian league and football in general especially with various efforts of the LMC which are highly commendable.
The LMC has continued to work hard to take the league to the next level through various means. One of such was the recent agreement signed with La-Liga to expose our local talents to tournaments in Spain in August.
With the cooperation of all stakeholders, the league will become the envy of rivals in the nearest future.
Do you think a foreign technical adviser will improve the Super Eagles compared to local coaches?
The importance of a foreign coach to handle our national team cannot be over emphasized. Even, countries who have developed more than us so to say, still hire a foreigner to be in charge of their national teams.
Lots of advantages lie in having a very good and sound foreign coach in charge of the Super Eagles; It will make the administrators and players to sit tight, it will make the club sides of our players respect and release the players on time for matches, it will facilitate more exposure for the players, there will be all round structural, tactical and technical development, the local coaches will also benefit.
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