• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

In an era where football has evolved into a multi-billion pound industry that has seen some countries (England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Tanzania, South Africa, Egypt and most recently Saudi Arabia) get percentages from it to boost their country’s economy, used as a means of tourism to rake in billions of dollars; to project the image of their country; and billions of euros; and have in turn dominated the universe as trending countries in the last two decades the emergence of competent, visionaries, astute football administrators, are required to place Nigeria amid these talk of the world countries.

Corroborating the above is the Chief Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Prof Darlington Obaseki citing Fred Newton as an example of a football administrator capable of changing the face of Edo State football.

On Friday, speaking with former Super Eagles Star, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Darlington Obaseki was full of praise for the chairman of the Edo Football Association and his innovative strides citing belief in his capability to take football to greater heights in the state.

Prof. Obaseki started his conversation with Aiyegbeni by revealing that he had plans to run for the Edo FA chairmanship position but unfortunately, time was unavailable for him.

“I actually wanted to help sanitize football in Edo State, but there was no time. I wanted to be FA chairman. I felt I had a lot to offer organisational-wise.”

He went on to state problems affecting the growth of Nigeria Football and what we wanted to offer but luckily someone he can trust now holds the position.

“Football is lacking leadership in Nigeria. I wanted to bring leadership, administrative, and organizational skills. Somehow luckily the person there is my boy, Newton got it, which is okay with me. We are working together. Trying to organize football to what it was before from the grassroots starting from infrastructure for it,” he added.

Reliving old-time memories, Prof. Obaseki compared what football was like when he was growing up compared to now.

“Growing up the state of Bendel had four teams in the national league, Bendel Insurance, New Nigerian Bank, Bendel United and the Nigeria Ports Authority. Until recently, three years ago, we did not have one if not for government support for Bendel Insurance”

“Let’s build what is happening at Remo and Sporting Lagos that makes its own revenue, let us also replicate the same in Edo State,” Obaseki said.

He also thanked Yakubu Aiyegbeni for his contribution to sports development in the state with YAK Sports. Additionally, he shared the good news that sooner than later, he will be partnering with clubs to promote grassroots football in Edo State.

Jokanola Bolaji

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