By Akeem Busari
The unending cases of age cheats at local and international football competitions have been described as anaemic and cancerous to the genuine quests for football development and excellence.
As parts of its relentless drives to develop football in Ekiti State and according to global best practices, the Ekiti State Football Association, Sunday, June 21,2020, began a series of lectures aimed at helping it to achieve its objectives.
The online sports conference organized by the Bayo Olanlege led Ekiti FA had in the first of the lectures, the theme: ‘Nutrition for Optimal Physical and Mental Development in Children: A case for Improved Performances in Sports’.
The epochal lecture which was moderated by Dr. Babatunde Akinbinu, a Sports and Health Physician, and member, NFF Sports Medical Committee, featured heavyweight members of Ekiti state football community, home and diaspora.
Dr. Ogundare Olatunde, a Paediatrician, presently working with Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, who was the lecturer began by explaining several reasons for the seeming prevalence of poor nutrition in Nigerian communities.
He described poor nutrition as a chronic problem often caused by poverty, food insecurity and even a poor understanding of nutrition and dietary practices.
” Balanced diet is a diet that contains the proportionate amount of essential nutrients required for optimal growth and health,” Dr. Ogundare explained.
Responding to some probes by the enthusiastic participants of the lecture, the health expert was quick to quash the agelong belief on the streets that it is expensive and practically impossible for parents to provide their kids and wards with a balanced diet.
According to him, this country is blessed with local foods that contains essential nutrients needed for healthy growth of the kids. And are equally cheap to access.
The renowned paediatrician also remarked that, “poor nutrition is the reason why our athletes and footballers often look smaller than their European counterparts by age 17, when they meet at international competitions.”
Emmanuel Adukwu, Chairman of the highly rated Mees Palace Football Academy, who was one of the participants regretted the selfish desires of parents and youth coaches to get their kids into teams at any cost by also lying on the true ages of the kids.
” Parents and youth coaches are telling lies about the true ages of these kids. Reasons we at Mees Palace always insist on kids below 8 years at entry,” he stated.
Ekiti FA boss, Bayo Olanlege, insisted that the board of the FA are bent on ensuring an enviable and sustainable football legacy in the state. Adding that discovering kids at early ages, as well as, exposing them to needed nutrition and technical values would help engender a better football future for the state and the country, in general.