President of Toronto Raptors Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri has charged African leaders to put sports in the hand of experts in order to achieve sustainable achievement in the sector.
At the media parley where Ujiri displayed the NBA trophy won by Raptors, Ujiri stated that leaving sports in the hands of experts would create an ecosystem where everyone involved in the sector would benefit from the success that would be achieved.
He noted that African leaders were making huge mistakes by placing sports in the hands of politicians who do not have the wherewithal to move the sector forward. “Sport is a sector that needs the involvement of experts to develop both human resources and facilities.
“I will always say this. The National Stadium in Lagos is an eyesore. It is unfortunate that an edifice of that nature is being allowed to rot because of lack of maintenance culture. A huge ecosystem could be created at the stadium if the right things are done.
“First, we have to get the main bowl working again while all other facilities should be refurbished to what is obtainable elsewhere. Other businesses will also spring up in and around stadium giving people a source of livelihood,” he added.
While noting that talents abound in Nigeria, he said the decaying facilities would not help the development of such talents and called on the authorities to find a solution to this lingering problem.
“For me, the time has come for the leaders in the continent to start looking for a solution to the problem bedeviling the sector. But the first thing they have to do is put an expert in charge of the sector. The earlier they do that the better for everyone.
“I will also call on leaders of other countries to take a cue from Rwanda and Senegal who just built world class gym that can host NBA game in Africa as soon as the plan is concluded. Playing the game in Africa would enhance the development of basketball on the continent,” he added.
Ujiri, said his desire is to see a participant of Giant of Africa (GOA), his pet project, become the president of an African country in the near future.