Ex-Super Eagles player, Victor Okechukwu Agali has called on the Nigerian government to inculcate football as a subject in schools, explaining that soccer remains one of the biggest businesses in the world, with millions of pounds spent in signing new players.
According to him, despite this huge potential, Nigerian government has not fully incorporated the sport into the formal education system that would groom younger ones on professional soccer career.
The footballer, a guest speaker at this year’s career day of the Loral International Secondary School, FESTAC Town, Lagos, said this while educating students on the career opportunities offered by football. He described the sport as a gold mine that has come to stay in the world, adding that the game provides employment to thousands of people who make a good livelihood as professional footballers with different clubs or national teams.
“Football is one of the biggest businesses in the world. It is a multi-million dollar business. Under FIFA, we have various football federations and other UEFA, there are various football federations. In Nigeria, we have state football federations, and lots of football clubs. Football as a career is highly demanding.”
Faulting the wrong impression people had about footballers in the early days as dumb fellows who could not make it in academics, Agali, who is a HND graduate of Accountancy pointed out that being a footballer does not prevent anyone from going to school or acquiring higher education certificates, citing the case of Segun Odegbanmi, a graduate of mathematics, who made his mark in professional football.
He revealed that countries in Europe are doing everything possible to manage their soccer academies alongside their schools and urged Nigerian government to do the same. He said there is no special talent required in football rather skills that could be improved upon through proper training and coaching. In addition, he also said that just like studies, football is quite demanding because it involves making use if the brain.
Agali went on to say that the sport continues to support players, even after they had stopped playing. To drive home his point, he cited an example with players that played for Nigeria in FIFA organised tournaments who would continue to receive their pension for life.
“Football as a career is great; it is essential that it should be fully incorporated into school activities,” he advised.