Nigeria table tennis Legend Segun Toriola has hit out at State Sports Councils and has accused them “of killing sports in Nigeria.
“Well, we have a few of them [young players] that have really improved but I believe if they have support, there’s going to be a Nigerian Champion of tomorrow but right now the problem most young Nigerian players have is coaching, most of them don’t really have coaches most of them practice on their own and that’s the big problem we have.”
The four-time African Games singles champion said he and other more established players have chimed in to support budding players but insists sports councils at the state level must wake up to their responsibilities and stop “killing sports in Nigeria”.
“During my time when I was young, we had coaches, we had support but right now they don’t have coaches or support especially the State Sports Councils are the worst, they are killing sports in Nigeria and that’s the truth.
“Most people always say it’s the Sports Ministry [killing sport in Nigeria] but it’s not the Sports Ministry whose job is to just to select players in Nigeria for tournaments.
“The Sports Ministry should do a little bit [more] but when I was young it was the State Sports Council that took care of athletes but right now, in most of the Sports Councils some do not have a coach or equipment for the young ones, so it is not easy for the young ones, it’s very tough for them.
“The [Nigeria Table Tennis] Federation is really trying to support and give them equipment and we the professional players, we also try to support them with equipment.”