EXCLUSIVE: NHF Chief, Senator Ningi Calls on Ex-Hockey Players and the Media, to Help Push Hockey Forward
Nigeria Hockey Federation Chairman, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi has called on media and ex Hockey players to help take the game of Hockey back to the top.
Senator Abdul Ningi also told sportlineng that he was impressed by the level of competition he saw at the just concluded National Super League, stressing that with right exposure Nigerian players can match their international counter-parts.
He however said, the association has a road map and will take the sport back to the top with or without the government’s support.
“Nigerian players can match their international colleagues; our players have the skills and determination, just the exposure is lacking.
“Niger Flickers coming third in an international competition was the foundation of the “good performance” we had at last year’s African Nations Cup.
“Largely, I am not worried about happenings in Hockey because all we need to do is get back in to communication with ex-Hockey players who thought the game was dying.
“But because media houses who have been telling people that the game isn’t dead and also the just concluded Super League attested to the fact that the sport is well and alive, the media and ex Hockey players have a huge responsibility in our plans of taking Hockey back to the people.
“It is when people come to watch and appreciate the game that is when you have endorsements and sponsorships, that is our target and resolve.
“It is not going to be easy because the governments are not assisting us in participating in international competitions, private companies are not Father Christmas they also want to get something back when they sponsor. So you need that sort of interphase with private companies and international companies.
“We have a long way to go but the fact that government are not sponsoring won’t dampen our enthusiasm of this game. We will continue to move on and we are challenging ourselves whether the government supports or not we are going to do everything to take the youths away from the street and give them a sense of belonging.
“At a particular stage of a man’s development, there comes a time where he has a lot of energy in him like at the ages of 17-25 that needs to be tapped, if it is not tapped that’s why you see youths resulting into crimes and going into criminality.
“What we do here is a social service to the Nation, but fundamentally is a service to the government but a lot of them are not seeing it that way.
“We were off the street when we were growing and that’s why we became what we are today, credible serious patriotic Nigerians and that’s what we want to do to the youth. If we hang down everything then certainly we are doing a damage to ourselves because we benefited from these arrangements.
“Now that we have the opportunity we should also give back to the youth and that’s why irrespective if the challenges we get from sport ministry we are going do our best,” he said.