Ishola Williams, President of the African Baseball and Softball Association, has decried the neglect of the two sports by the Nigeria's National Sports Commission (NSC) while too much attention is paid to football.
Williams, who is also the secretary-general of the Commonwealth Handball Association (CHA), made this known during the question and answer session of the NSC 2007 ministerial press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja. He lamented that other smaller sports had suffered untold negligence because of less support from the government.
"The headquarters of the African Base and Softball is right here in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria, in fact just a stone-throw away from Abuja, where the NSC is located," he said.
"Yet, not one day has the Sports Development Department of the NSC deemed it necessary to visit the place and see how we operate. Likewise, the Commonwealth Handball Association's headquarters is also here in Abuja."
"Now, the chairman of the NSC, in his speech, has told us that the government has plans to build a permanent edifice here in Abuja to house the headquarters of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), which has recently been moved from Yaounde, Cameroon, to Nigeria. With this, one begins to wonder whether the NSC actually takes stock of all the recognized sports associations in the country."
Williams was of the opinion that had there been an international department within the NSC, it could have been coordinating all the activities of the country's sports associations affiliated to international bodies.
In response, NSC boss Bala Ka'oje thanked Williams for raising the issue and promised to take action as soon as possible to establish such a department within the commission, describing it as very important.
Ka'oje defended the great attention paid to football by government, pointing out that is because football has so many categories of competitions under it, which the government must organize to meet up with the passion Nigerians attach to it.