Ace Golfer Wants Sanction On Schools Without Facilities
A seasoned professional golfer and former coach of the Rivers State Sports Council, Elder Patrick Okpomu has called on the federal, states and local government councils to give priority attention to all sports including golf in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country.
Elder Okpomu, a sports technocrat who made the call in a chat with our correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt said sports had become a source of livelihood as well as keeping the children mentally alert and physically fit to face their studies.
He said it is disheartening that most schools do not have sports facilities like in the 60s and 70s, and suggested that any school that does not have facilities should not be given license or approval to operate.
The first Nigerian Professional golfer noted that sports help the brain to learn better and keep them healthy, adding almost all schools in abroad have sporting facilities.
He said that if a child is not academically sound he could excel in sports and make a career out of it in life.
According to him, due to lack of facilities and encouragement, in the games like tennis, squash, golf, cricket, volley and basketballs as well as boxing, athletics among others are dying, because attention is being given more to football only, that it could be played even on the road and elsewhere.
Okpomu fondly called 001 and first Captain of Professional Golfers in Nigeria particularly pleaded for golf to be re-introduced in schools with the provision of driving ranges (practice areas), like in most countries in the world that had Municipal Golf Courses and Golf Courses that are managed by the Local Government Councils.
On the training of cadies in Port Harcourt Club, the Veteran Professional Golfer hinted that the players are fast catching up with the game, and have become one of the best in the country as they participated in National Sports Festivals, Inter-club and National Caddie’s Championships and won prizes in Enugu, Benin, Lagos, among others.
He however expressed regret that due to the economic nose drive in the country, there are no sponsors and encouragement of the players to participate in national and other inter-club tournaments, and further appealed that if governments should assist with the provision of facilities and driving pitch, the game of golf would go long way to make the Federal, State and Local Governments proud as coaches are ready to go and train them with the basics to stardom.
The first professional golfer in Nigeria recalled that in 1971, golf was introduced in schools in Rivers State with coaches from the Sports Council taken charge of training during which many renowned golfers were discovered.