The President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Honour Sirawoo has advocated better management, improved facilities and professionalism among the sporting press as recipe toward ensuring appreciable mark by Africa in the world of competitive sports.
Sirawoo, who spoke as special guest at the 33rd Nile Special Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) Award Night in Kampala, capital of Uganda, expressed optimism that if the right people were put in management, in addition to the provision of conducive atmosphere, and development-oriented press, the continent’s sportsmen and women would excel beyond their current standing.
He told the gathering consisting of the Speaker of Ugandan Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, and the Minister of State for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi, among others, that journalists have the power to influence events in the sports sector and bring about constructive changes needed to help produce generations of talents.
The SWAN President lamented that the sports media haven’t been able to assert its influence due to lack of unity amidst lots of potentials for the entrenchment of desired changes in the sports industry.
Sirawoo opined that some media owners have not helped matters following their inability to pay salaries and facilitate training, leaving sports journalists at the mercy of overzealous administrators, who seize such opportunities to consciously prevent this critical pillar in sports development from collectively and constructively playing its role.
According to the leader of the Nigerian sporting press, who delivered messages from Africa’s Power of Sports, Gov. Nyesom Wike, AIPS President, Gianni Merlo and AIPS-Africa President, Mitchell Obi, the recent below-par performance of Africa’s representatives at the World Cup in Russia should give administrators and the media in the continent a cause for concern.
He maintained that most African countries are yet to realize that sports have created a huge and wealthy economy, urging Africans to insist on knowing why players of African descent do well for their adopted countries, but fail to do so back home.
The SWAN boss said that, it was regrettable that in many parts of Africa, basic facilities to train sportsmen and women were lacking, hence the desperation on the part of the best talents in the continent to search for training gear and better conditions, and most times, change nationality.
Sirawoo, who also presented award at the event, recommended a stakeholders summit among African sports administrators and the media, where some standard requirements would be mutually agreed as the way forward for the growth of the money spinning sports sector in the continent.