Benin, Jan. 6, 2020 Osamudiame Osagede, the Edo chapter chairman of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), on Wednesday blamed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for the rampant cheating in the country’s age-grade football.
Osagede told newsmen in Benin that NFF should be held responsible because it ruined the working relationship which existed between it and YSFON.
“This situation, which has become a challenge within the last 10 years, was not only responsible for cheating in age-grade football but has also hindered the growth of football in the country,” he said.
Osagede said until the NFF and YSFON return to their working relationship, the country would continue to witness decline in the development of the game.
The Edo YSFON Chairman said it was this relationship that was largely responsible for Nigeria’s success at the FIFA/Kodak World Under-16 Tournament in China in 1985.
Osagede said age cheating was responsible for Nigerian players’ inability to have more than 10 years of active football abroad before they fade away from the game.
He contended that the NFF knows nothing about several players, while YSFON on the other hand have the right information about the players.
“We know them because we are the one grooming them at the grassroots. Most of them have been with us right from their under-12 level or even below. As such, we are better informed about them, including their age.
“YSFON used to provide the bulk of players that make up the under-17 national team in times past.
“But what do we have now? Not only are YSFON coaches relegated to the background or even out of the picture completely when it comes to age-grade football at the national level, but NFF just brings in a coach from nowhere without recourse to those at the grassroots.
“Again, the NFF has not deemed it fit to assist YSFON to attract sponsorship to age-grade football tournaments at the grassroots.”
Osagede also said state and local governments have not performed well in the development of football at the grassroots.
He said the two levels of government have abandoned sponsorship of age-grade tournaments organised by YSFON at the grassroots.
“Before, we used to have about three to four tournaments yearly being sponsored by local and state governments. But this is no longer so. Even when we manage to organise one, we usually bear the cost of the sponsorship alone.
“State and local governments also need to wake up to their responsibility of developing sports, particularly football, at the grassroots,” the YSFON official said.