A former Federal House of Representatives member from Gombe State, Hon. Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki has added his voice to the growing calls for sports administrators, and stakeholders to shift their scouting programmes towards the grassroots for talents discovery.
The former Federal lawmaker stated this while answering questions from sports journalists at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium, Lagos, on Wednesday, where he led his Mailantarki Care Football Academy players from Gombe State to participate in a five-day scouting programme.
According to him, “There abound so many talents at the grassroots in Nigeria. Only what they are waiting for is the right opportunity to showcase to the world what they have.
“In Gombe State where I come from, it’s like the Brazil of Northern Nigeria. We try as much as possible to expose our local talents to opportunities like the one here in Lagos because if you look at the National Teams or the leagues around the world, you would discover that those from the North are left behind.
“It’s on the basis of that and sundry other reasons that I decided to engage in this noble venture.”
Hon. Ahmed who is now an established business mogul explained that the need to have equal or more players in the National Teams and playing abroad necessitated his drive to participate in the scouting programme with the hope that the players would be accessed by the foreign scouts who are in Lagos from some of the top European clubs.
He added that assembling the players from the grassroots wasn’t easy as he and his Academy’s Technical Director cum former National Team Coach, Manu Garba, and a few other individuals of like minds have been working round the clock to get the best from the region to participate in the scouting programme put together by his business partners.
The widely-travelled Chief Executive Officer of Mailantarki Care Football Academy stressed that the need to discourage young persons from becoming social and societal miscreants, and rather use their God-given talents for productive tasks further spurred him to doing what he is doing, adding that he remained upbeat that his boys would make the list of players to be selected by the European scouts.
He called on Government and well-meaning individuals in Nigeria to spare parts of their resources towards youth and sports development in order to curb insecurity and unemployment among the youth population.
Fourteen teams drawn from across the country participated in the five-day scouting programme which began on 3rd October, 2021 and ended on Thursday, 7th October, with Mailantarki Care Football Academy the only team from the North.