By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON, Kaduna.
In his bid at ensuring that football is taken back to its glorious past, a set of trophies have been donated by Engineer Abubakar Yusuf Mustapha (Best) to be competed for by primary schools within Kaduna North Local Government Area.
Making the presentation on Friday in Kaduna, the donor said that he decided to make the bold step after reflecting on how the game of football developed when he was in primary school.
“In those days, we used to have inter-primary schools competition, from where several talents were discovered. It is unfortunate that now some primary schools don’t even have football fields because they have been converted to classrooms,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that the country has lost its focus in terms of grassroots sports development and must go back to the basics before any meaningful progress can be made.
“I feel we have lost it and need to go back to the roots, where we lost it years back.
“To show how sports was then, we had dedicated hostels for sportsmen when I was at the university in ABU Zaria. The university authorities also went out to source for talented sportsmen and granted them admission. The results are there for everyone to see today because ABU has produced several national and international sportsmen,” he added.
He commended the Kaduna North Football Council for keeping faith with him and doing him the honour of donating the trophies, while also lauding the Kaduna Football Association.
Best described the competition as a pilot scheme that is deliberately confined to Kaduna North LGA so that they can monitor, learn and make corrections where necessary before expanding it to a larger scale.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Kaduna Football Association, Honourable Sheriff Al-Kassim thanked the donor for donating the trophies.
“We are grateful that again today, we have converged here to receive trophies donated by Engineer Best, in addition to previous donations to the FA. I charge the organizers to take good care of the trophies.
“When there is peace, whatever we intend to achieve can be achieved. Thank you all and to the donor, we would also like to appeal to you to also support us not just I your locality, but all through the state.
For the Chairman of Kaduna North Football Council, Malam Abdulrazak Usman, the competition would be an avenue to discover future stars that would shine on the world stage.
“We are hoping to form academies I all the wards of the local government area from the talents penciled down. They would be nurtured and groomed to take Nigeria out of the woods in the near future,” he assured.
Malam Usman lamented that Nigeria that used to be a strong force in African football has been relegated to the extent that it has been long that a star from the country won the African Footballer of the Year Award.
He commended Engineer Best for always coming to their rescue whenever they needed his assistance, while predicting that the competition would be historic.