Wahab Shittu, a former table tennis player, on August 18, 2013, Sunday, in Ilorin, decried what he described as the neglect of ex-internationals in the country.
He stressed the need for the government to turn sports stars into idols as was the case in many other countries.
“As far as development is concerned, it works in various forms,” he said.
Mr. Shittu, who is currently a lecturer in the Law Faculty of the University of Lagos, also noted that many people who had made the country proud had been ‘honoured’, but not ‘appreciated’.
“Veteran athletes should not be the ones to solicit for assistance when trying to offer their talents for the betterment of the country,” Mr. Shittu said.
“Former players should not be people, who should be made to queue for a long time before they can see government officials, because they had sacrificed for the country.”
Mr. Shittu lauded the initiative of a top table tennis coach, Kasali Lasisi, who recently floated a Table Tennis Academy.
According to him, the academy was one way of identifying talents at the grassroots and it would fast-track sports development at the grassroots.
He urged the government to encourage such laudable contributions.
“Government should allocate substantial resources toward sports development generally and not football alone, because sports remain a unifying factor in the country,” Mr. Shittu said.
Mr. Shittu also praised Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, for his contribution to the Kasali Lasisi Table Tennis Academy, calling on others to also contribute their quota.