Renowned sports health expert, Dr Akin Amao has opined that it might take another major competition to be hosted in Nigeria for the country’s medical facilities to receive a boost.
Dr Amao recounts how several additions were provided for facilities in the country’s health sector in general and medical installations at stadiums during two global soccer competitions that the country hosted years ago.
The former head of the sports ministry’s medical department took his focus back in time during a Nigerian television network programme, Sports Parliament, on which he recounted how health facilities used to be up to scratch and top notch in the country.
Amao recalled that some of the equipment used during Nigeria’s hosting of the World Youth Championship in 1999 became useful during domestic events afterwards, only to fade away with time.
He also pointed to some of the facilities that were used during Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, but lamented that the country’s lack of an adequate maintenance culture has accounted for poor health service in the nation’s sports sector.
Amao philosophized: “We may have to ask for another hosting to come to Nigeria for us to beef up our sports health facilities again.
“That was what we got from the two editions of the youth World Cups we have hosted in the past, for the under-20s and under-17s.
“I remember that the mobile stretchers that were used for carrying injured players from the pitch lasted some years after the 1999 World Youth Championship, but they soon disappeared with time.
“Same went for facilities that were used for the U-17 World Cup in 2009. In fact, the sports medicine centres at the stadiums in Lagos and Abuja were upgraded and moved up to international standard.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to put in proper maintenance ideas into place, and that has also affected facilities for sports medicine in Nigeria. Let’s just hope that things will change soon.”