A former Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Amos Adamu, and a two-time coach of the Nigeria national soccer team, Adegboye Onigbinde, have given a tacit support for Aliko Dangote’s attempt at buying English Premier League club, Arsenal, but reckoned the ideal thing would have been for the billionaire businessman to invest in Nigerian sports.
Dangote, who made a futile bid for Arsenal in 2010, was recently reported to have made a renewed bid for the London club currently valued at 1.3 billion pounds.
Speaking in different interviews, Adamu and Onigbinde averred that strict business consideration rather than charity must have influenced Dangote’s resolve to invest in a foreign club.
“It is practical, there are people in Nigeria that have never been to the stadium to watch the Nigerian league matches but as businessmen will naturally align with success,” Adamu told the News Agency of Nigeria.
“These same people will do anything within their means to ensure that they watch international leagues like the Barclays Premier League and co; they are die-hard supporters of teams like Arsenal.
“We are looking at it as football, but it is business for him (Dangote), but people investing in football are doing it to make more money.
“He has interest and he can make more money from it so why not, it is purely business no strings attached. There are certain things you like in life that makes you happy.”
And according to Onigbinde, a staunch apostle of grassroots sports development, “for Dangote not to think of our league shows that something is terribly wrong”. He said: “We do not have a structure.
In fact going by FIFA regulations, none of our clubs has met the required standards of a club that a person like Dangote could have owned.
“We should not be emotional on that ground. It is only when you bring in patriotism that it looks morally wrong, but first and foremost, he is a businessman. And so is only normal for him to spread his tentacles wisely.
“Business and sentiments do not mix. If I may advise, I think what we need more in this country is someone to back the overhauling of our grassroots programmes.
“If Dangote decides to focus on sports development, the youth of this country will not forget him because sports in general are what has brought fame to some ghetto children.”