In this Exclusive Interview, the President-General (World-Wide) of the Nigeria Football and other Sport Supporters club Dr. RAFIU LADIPO had a chat with JOSEPH ODOEKWU of Sport Intelligence (www.sportintelligencemag.com) recently in Lagos. Ladipo who has a knack for Sport development in Africa also believes that an African nation will host the Games in the nearest future, he also spoke about the attempts made by some individuals to hijack the Supporters Club.Please Read On.
S.I: What are the expectations of Nigerians from your team ahead of the Gold coast 2018 Commonwealth Games?
As members of the Nigeria Football and other Sport supporters club, our members are ready to go to Gold Coast in Australia and support the various athletes in Boxing, Weightlifting, Basketball and other games, because we want to win more laurels in several games for the nation. You know football is not part of the Commonwealth Games hence our decision to go to the Commonwealth Games is very necessary to support other sport. We are fully ready for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
S.I: Since the inception of the Commonwealth Games no African nation has hosted it, do you believe that someday an African nation will host the Games?
Well it is possible for an African nation to host the Commonwealth Games, after all before the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, a lot of people did not believe it could happen. But when it became a success, they saw what Africa can do and same thing also applies to the hosting of the Commonwealth Games. When we go to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia, we believe in African teams and we will encourage them to win laurels, and then we can start talking to all the various countries. So it is possible for an African country to host the Commonwealth Games in the nearest future.
S.I: Still based on your experience and exposure, if you are to tip an African nation to host the Commonwealth Games today, which are the likely countries?
The first country I will tip to host the Commonwealth Games in Africa now is Nigeria while the second on my list is South Africa.
S.I: There has been speculations about some individual trying to take over the supporters club of Nigeria, what is your opinion on that sir?
No individual can take over the Supporters club of Nigeria. The Supporters club is a duly constitutionally registered club. It is an NGO. In fact, I have to let you know that there was a case in court and we won that case, and there was a move by a few elements in Sport to hijack the running and the organization of the Supporters club, but thank God I was able to go to the house of representatives and presented 21 objections and that is now a thing of the past. The supporters club is 62 years old and we have been running our affairs through self-help, support from members and supporting the course of Nigeria. Even FIFA gave us the best behaved supporters club around 1994 and also CAF has given us several awards and we are the current champions when it comes to the best supporters club in the World. Every other country of the world is trying to emulate the Nigeria football Supporters club. It is not possible for any individual to hijack the supporters club of Nigeria. The gentleman you are seeing there (Points to Elder Isaac Ukpebor) is the longest serving member of the Nigeria Supporters club, his name is Mr Isaac Ukpebor he is the president of the Elders Council of the Supporters club, he was one of the people that registered me, so it is not a thing one person will come and say they want to take it over, it is not possible. How can they take over an NGO that is been financed and sponsored by ourselves, have they ever funded us in the last 62 years? So it is practically not possible.
S.I: Thank you very much sir for your time
You are welcome