Football, also known as soccer in some parts of the world, is a thrilling and popular sport that captivates millions of fans worldwide. As in its originating countries, football is widely played in Ogun state and Nigeria generally, from street faceoffs to the level of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
Balogun Oluwasegun, the coach of Almar football club Ijebu Ode speaks to Ogunwatch on his experience as a sporting practitioner and the state of sporting in Ogun state.
How would you describe the sporting system in Ogun state?
The sporting system in Ogun state is going fine. In the stadium here, I can’t even count the teams presently, unlike before. So it’s going on well.
Do you think there is an improvement and growth in the sport of the state?
Definitely, There is an improvement. The only thing is the government and we know the government doesn’t contribute to the sport of the state.
If the government can try to give employment to sports practitioners, people won’t be jobless in this sector. Some people are doing sports based on their likeness to it. Some are not having anything from it even. If they can help or create a fascinating avenue in sports, that would be better and it will motivate others with interest to join. It would be appreciated.
What club in the States do you coach for?
Almar football club in Ijebu Ode
What do you think are some of the challenges facing football clubs and sports in Ogun state?
Financial aspects; we need more financial support.
Ahead of the 2024 sports festival that is to be hosted in Ogun state, do you think the state is fully prepared and ready to host the festival?
To me, you know Nigerians we like impromptu things. We have this festival close by, but we are left with no information. Even the people that want to participate train on their own.
Then, later, a week or two weeks before the competition, the Ogun state government will now call you to come and participate without the necessary training. Without knowing how prepared I am. You did not prepare me before the festival and you want good results.
My performance is quite different from somebody that may already have been taking good care of himself basically. Those to participate haven’t been called on we are just preparing should in case we are called on.
What is your call to the state government on the sporting sector?
The state government should try and do something for the sports people. We still need facilities, although for now, we have a few stadiums. But check the Remo stadium, it is better than the whole stadiums in the state. The Ilaro stadium looks like a farm, it lacks maintenance.
Whenever we have a festival they would rush to put it in place, but after the festival what are they doing to the stadiums? That’s where we need more employment. Employ people to take care of it, and pay them a good allowance.
What are your personal challenges in this profession so far?
As a man there are challenges but I don’t look and dwell on them rather I look at my goal and where I am going. I have chosen this as my career so I am always prepared. I am 99.9% ready whenever I am called upon, so I don’t allow my challenges to weigh me down. We know that Nigeria is hard so we just need to keep pushing.
What is your advice to youngsters in the States who might be thinking of chasing a sporting career?
We still need more young ones, I want them to be dedicated, determined and have more focus because in Nigeria it is hard to see someone that will encourage them. You need to encourage yourself and with your effort, God will crown it.
What do you think the public can do to support this sporting system?
Maybe whenever it comes to the clubs they should ask to know the names of the clubs, this will also help them to get to know us better.
So, lastly, what is your advice to the general public and residents of the state?
Just like the Ogun state anthem ISEYA, they have to work, they have to do it. We have to because we have chosen it so that at the end of the day it will come out as planned, feeling fulfilled. We pray that God would help us all against wasted efforts.
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