Ikpeba, Nexford call for grassroots sports development


Ebenezer Bajela

Former Super Eagle, Victor Ikpeba, and the Country Director of American-based University Nexford, Olamidun Ogundoyin, have called on the development of grassroots sports in the country to help discover young talent in Nigeria, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The duo made this assertion at the sideline of the novelty match organised by Nexford University in Lagos on Friday.

Known for having some of the biggest talents in the past, Nigeria in recent times has struggled to dominate on the continent and on the global stage.

However, Ikpeba, a member of the Super Eagles team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 1994, said with the development of grassroots sports, a lot of hidden talents would be discovered.

“I think it is important that we develop our grassroots sports and I will continue to clamour for it because I am a product of grassroots development.

“During my youth, I played U-13 in Benin and Sapele, and look at where it got me today, I believe if we can do the same with our young ones, develop them as soon as possible and give them the right platform to excel I believe the sky would be their starting points.

“When I look at my life some 35 years ago nobody would have imagined I would be where I am today and that is why I believe it is very important we develop the young ones as soon as possible.”

Speaking in the same vein, Ogundoyin added, “Sports is a natural part of your academic journey and a lot of schools have their teams and it is a huge part of being patriotic when you are able to balance both sports and academics.

“For us, it’s being well rounded for our student community, giving them not just academy but also a community where they can meet new people through sports and commune together.

“On grassroots sports, we are very keen and knowledgeable of the local talents where our school is present and we know how important sport is to the people of Nigeria and historically we’ve got one of the biggest sports teams in the world and we have a lot of Olympics gold winners. We are passionate about the development of grassroots sports because we know it holds the key to the discovery of great talents and what we are doing today is another way to reinforce the local talent and embrace it.”