ABUJA (National Sports Commission)
The Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeleye has said that the NSC is mapping out strategies that will henceforth cater for the welfare of retiree sportsmen in Nigeria.
Gbenga Elegbeleye made this revelation recently in his Abuja National Stadium office, when a delegation of concerned football stakeholders paid him a courtesy call.
The Director General, who lamented the plight of ex-sportsmen in the country, stated that the arrangement would go a long way to elevate the plights of senior sports veterans, most of whom have nowhere to go after their active years in sports. According to him, “ex-sportsmen should have a pension scheme like Civil Servants, which they can fall back on after retirement.”
Speaking further, Elegbeleye said that the NSC is working assiduously to harmonise the aggrieved parties of the football stakeholders union towards having a unified body, in order to create an enabling environment for sports development.
He stated that football can only thrive under a healthy atmosphere, noting court litigation by different parties in the Nigerian football family has been a bane to sports development in the country. He called on all football stakeholders to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign in the football family, maintaining that the NSC will continue to provide a unified front gear for success.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the team, Clement Temile said that the delegation was at the NSC complex to solicit the support and cooperation of the Commission towards eradicating poverty and suffering amongst their colleagues.
He added that the efforts of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) and the Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria (APFON) in the past have not elicited desired results in the provision of welfare to ailing members. He cited the cases of Sunday Ebiogbe, who is presently down with stroke, Eddy Okoyomo, Peter Fregene and Late Rashidi Yekini as some of them.
“We feel that the Player’s Union is supposed to be well equipped to cater for the welfare and needs of retiring, current and future players as it is the norm worldwide,” he indicated.
According to him, this unfortunately has not been possible because of the bickering amongst members. He stressed the need for unity in the associations. Adding, the concerned football stake-holders are an amalgamation of ex-players and current football players both in and outside the country.