BY Segun Giwa
Commonwealth Gold medalist Lawrence Adegbehingbe has urged coaches and sports administrators in the country to always place competence above other consideration in the selection of athletes for competitions.
Adegbehingbe stated this on Sunday in Akure while delivering a lecture on “Development of Grassroots Football” at a seminar and draws for the 14th edition of Ijapo football competition.
The competition is tagged: Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu championship Cup 2022 and is organised by Tubaba Football Scouting Academy Network Nigeria (TFSANN).
He added that coaches must be honest, diligent and play according to the rules and regulations of the game.
Adegbeingbe said to develop football at the grassroots level, coaches must be cool and calm ,be disciplined and always select the best crop of players or athletes for competitions.
The retired director of sports at the Ondo State Ministry of Youths and Sports Development said corruption must be uprooted for any headway in the development of the sport at all levels.
He later charged participating club owners at the championship to educate their fans ahead of the grassroots football competition to eschew any form of hooliganism that could disrupt the competition.
Adegbehingbe, while commending the organisers for a job well done, urged them to live up to expectation and do away with any favouritism and partiality.
“They (organisers)should create a level playing ground for all the participating teams and ensure there was no predetermined results; everything must be free and fair,” he said.
The chief organiser and proprietor of TFSANN, Ayokunle Oluwatope, while speaking with newsmen, said the purpose of organising the competition was to contribute to the development of grassroots sports in Ondo State.
Oluwatope said that his team would continue to push until the hidden talents that abound in the state were discovered, nurtured and positively exposed to the world.
“Our target is to see countless numbers of talents discovered at this competition, doing well across the globe.
“This is the reason we partnered with Ondo State Football Agency, some Nigeria Professional Football League teams and foreign scout that would be on ground to watch and pick outstanding talents from the competition.
“We won’t stop untill Ondo State becomes bank of football talents for teams within and outside the country.
“We assured all the teams of level playing ground; all we can say is that we are going to improve on the last edition,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 teams will participate in the amateur category of the competition.