NGF, stakeholders disagree over federation’s alleged inactivity



It doesn’t look good at the Nigerian Golf Federation (NGF). That is the impression stakeholders in the Nigerian game have of the body, which is supposed to spearhead the country’s quest to join the elite nations of the game.

But the NGF President, Dr. Peter Deshi, disagrees with such impressions, saying the federation is doing everything possible to ensure Nigeria becomes a global force in the sport.

Early this year, Dr. Deshi, rolled out the body’s plans for the season, including the organisation of a national championship that would aid it in selecting players for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) recently named golf as one of the sports to feature at the Rio Games, and to ensure Nigeria was represented creditably in Brazil, Deshi enthused that the federation would ensure the participation would be great, as it would help to popularise the game in the country.

He said then, “We have gone round all the golf clubs to get data of young able golfers covering all categories and handicap in golf.

“We are going to organise a national qualifier for golfers, especially those within the age bracket approved by Olympics, which will take place in Uyo.

“From there, we will select those we think have the potential of bringing honour to Nigeria and camp them until the Olympics time.”

However, with less than one year to the Olympics, some stakeholders told The Guardian yesterday the country’s participation in the Olympics is wishful thinking “because nothing is being done to actualize it.”

One of the stakeholders, who pleaded anonymity, said, “we are talking of the Olympics when the federation is driving the sport to its grave.

“There is nothing happening at the federation and things can only change when the officials sit up to face their responsibility.

“I don’t have anything personal against anybody, but we have to be honest with ourselves… these guys are driving the game to its grave.”

He alleged that but for “the efforts of some individuals and organisations, golf would have been a long dead game in Nigeria. But all that will soon end.”

Reacting to the allegations, Dr. Deshi said the complaints were borne out of ignorance because ‘some people don’t know how golf works.’

He said, “Golf is not like basketball and football, where teams gather to play the qualifiers. It uses the ranking system to select players and even if the 300 expected players come from one country they will be the competitors.

“There is a lot of apartheid in golf because it is seen as a white man’s game, but we in Africa are fighting to ensure that every country gets equal opportunity. Golf must be played like any other sport.

“The people complaining may not know the many competitions we have held and the ones that are coming up. But I can assure you that we are working to ensure that we get things right.”

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