While reviewing the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations won by the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday, Abdullahi said that Nigerian sports administrators should use the victory as a spring board to learn how to administer sports in the country.
“The reason we have failed in football is not because there are no talents but because we have had difficulties in the way we have organised ourselves; the way the federation is organised and operated”, Abdullahi disclosed.
“We can use this victory as a turning point in the development of sports generally and football in particular for Nigeria. We all know the place of football in our environment. No matter what you do in other sports if you don’t get football right you have not done anything. But that notwithstanding, I am not a football minister, so I will look at the general implication of what victory means for sports in Nigeria.
“If you recall, we came out of London 2012 without winning any medal, and there was uproar. But what I thought we needed was that instead of complaining that we did not win any medal, we would ask ourselves how it happened that for the first time in many years Nigeria went to the Olympics and did not win a medal. The Olympics failure was actually consistent with previous failures in other sporting competitions; the World Cup 2010, the Falcons failures and others in the last two or three years. The Olympics failure was just the highpoint of it all.
“I came in shortly before the Olympics, but what was clear to me then was that what we experienced was the highpoint of the collapse of so many years. My conclusion is that the basic building blocks for winning are not even there. The poets (sic) sector operates largely through the federations, especially the elite sports. But if you look at most of the federations, they are largely weak.
“Many of them don’t even have the template that shows a connection between any process and the outcome that they desire. If you have that kind of environment, you are not going to win anything. In the absence of these basic building blocks, we have to start from the beginning to start rebuilding”, the minister disclosed in Johannesburg on Monday.