Chinedu Ezirim, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yagazie Foundation, an NGO, has appealed to parents to allow their children to start football from the age of five.
Ezirim, who made the appeal in an interview with NIGERIA NEWS on Monday in Lagos, said that if children were allowed to start football early, they would get it right.
“Most of our players start at very late age but with early preparation, I think we will get it right,’’ he said.
The sports administrator told NIGERIA NEWS that the Yagazie Foundation was established on Jan. 1, this year to help the youth and coaches to fight poverty and eradicate juvenile delinquency.
He added that the management of the NGO had been going to schools to tell them about sports and also encouraged them to pursue their education.
Ezirim said that the NGO had been reaching out to parents at the level of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) to seek parental consent, adding that it was an important factor in football business.
He added that the NGO would have to monitor the performances of the talents after spotting them.
Contributing, Emmanuel Udeogu, Chief Executive Officer, Dominion Hotspurs FC, Lagos and a partner in Yagazie Foundation, said that football had age bracket, saying that the club normally nurtured young players.
“You cannot just be 30 years and say you want to play football.
“We take time to tell the parents to allow their children to start football at an early age.
“Some children will first go to universities and come back to play football. In the course of returning to football, they falsify their age.
“Parents should allow their children to start football early,’’ Udeogu said.
The club’s proprietor explained that any child interested in football should start from a young team of a big club as done in Europe, adding that this would help to make such a child a star in the future.
Udeogu said that this would serve as a very good platform for the child to grow.
“In football circle, one year is very big. If a player does well, it will lift the player up like somebody who has been in the system for 15 years.
Also, Nathaniel Olagunju, Sport Director, FC Bethel International, told NAN that in Nigeria, parent hardly allowed an eight-year old boy or girl to go for football practice.
According to him, some parents take their children to football training ground and go back home with them.