Why Footballers Cannot Avoid Politicians – Ex-Super Eagles Forward Aghahowa
Former Super Eagles international Julius Aghahowa has responded to the debate over whether or not sports personalities should be seen around political figures, especially in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
While featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the acrobatic striker believes sport is still largely in the hands of politicians who provide funds for the running of the various teams who have to participate in competitions.
“If people are clamouring for footballers or sportsmen not to be associated with politicians, I don’t know where they would get the funds to participate in competitions or to get involved,” the former Shakhtar Donetsk and Wigan Athletic forward said on Friday during the breakfast show.
He pointed to the Nigeria Professional Football League where clubs were most times sponsored by the state government and asked where the teams would get funding from if they do not associate with the politicians.
An alternative to this, according to Aghahowa, is to have companies or private individuals get involved in sports so there can be a separation between the game and politics.
“Well, if you look at the sports scene in Africa, not just in Nigeria, you will see that sports are still under the hands of politicians; they are the ones sponsoring football and other sports,” the 40-year-old insisted.
“If you look at the leagues in Nigeria, almost all the club owners are sponsored by the state government, so how is that going to be possible at the moment? Maybe in the future, maybe when companies and private individuals get involved in sports; definitely that will be the way forward.”
Recently, there had been criticisms over the visit by former Super Eagles players to the home of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who has indicated his interest to run for President.
The players had visited ahead of the novelty football match scheduled to mark Tinubu’s 70th birthday at Onikan Stadium in Lagos State.