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Developing the Taraba State Sports’ Sector

Sometimes back I wrote on Taraba Football Club and expressed my delight, wholeheartedly, with its disbandment. I mentioned that Club Football is a full-fledged business. And except the Taraba State government is running FC Taraba solely for the purpose of making money, then there is no point having a Football Club. I went on to give my reasons, backed with calculations, on why I think a state-owned football club is an unnecessary distraction.


Nothing can be further from this. However, while responding to comments that followed the post on my Facebook wall, I suggested that since FC Taraba is not for business, and the people want to see it "functional," then it should be incorporated into the Taraba State Civil Service and that players MUST ALL be Tarabans who are paid monthly salaries and getting promotions like civil servants.


What I suggested as an alternative is the development of the Sport Sector. Now, because football has become a global sport, whenever the name "sport" is mentioned, people's mind easily drifts to football forgetting more than 98% of other activities that make up sports.


Sporting activities such as basketball, handball, volleyball, badminton, swimming, and javelin, High, long and triple jump and other track and field events are of equal importance as football. 

Therefore, it is imperative that we change focus and holistically concentrate energy in the development of the Sport Sector. We are already abundantly blessed with the human resources. All we need to do is harness the potentials of these resources and put them into use.


The first step in achieving this is to seek a Knowledge Management Team. This team becomes the backbone, the spirit and soul of the project. 

The Knowledge Management team must comprise persons who are not only knowledgeable about sport and sport development but have the passion, drive, persistence, commitment and sincerity to see that objectives are achieved. Knowledge Management Team comprises amongst others, Administrators, Researchers, curators, coaches, referees etc. 


The next objective that should be pursued is to provide the necessary facilities. Thankfully, the Jolly Nyame Stadium (JTN) has a number of needed facilities and can serve as a springboard for the project. 

All that will be needed is a general overhaul of the facility. Of course, additional facilities may be required either within the facility or without. Whatever is the case, there is already a facility to start with.


Once these first two items are in place, Athlete Development/Athlete Development Programme should be the next phase of the overall development programme. Needless to say, there are no sports where there are no Athletes. An athlete is a raw material for sport and it must be developed.


Athlete development is not only about physical sport performance but also about developing social and ethical skills and preparing people for healthy and productive lives. This is one of the areas where the knowledge management team is most needed. 

Here, promising athletes are identified and helped to improve their capacity which will adequately equip them to favourably compete with their counterparts at local, national and international levels.


Success can only be measured through regular Organization of Events. Organisation of events is not only a primary task for the sport body but also a major aspect of sport development effort. Apart from the enjoyment that good events bring to participants and spectators, the organisation of special events also provides other benefits such as; assessing the organization, providing opportunity for sponsorship, upskilling the athletes, raising performance standards etc.


How can all these be achieved without funding? No way. Funding is the bedrock to achieving the aforementioned. The vision must be clear. The government must have the will and the willingness to fund the project. And if this is done with all sincerity of purpose, and with the right persons to man both the financial and human resources involved, it won't take long before we start reaping the fruits of our labour. Thankfully, this is not rocket-science. It is doable and the rewards will transcend generations.


Let us forget club football, for now, and work on raising sports men and women who will go outside and make us proud, and bring back dollars won from international events. It can be done!


Kundila Epemilo Philip (Sir Othello)

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