Creating jobs through cycling, my main concern –Massari

Cycling is one of the sports considered as a lesser event due to the level of interest and perhaps awareness created over the years on it.
However, the incumbent President of Cycling Federation of Nigeria, an Italian-born Nigerian, Giandomenico Massari for the first time spoke extensively on the challenges and impact cycling could make in Nigeria’s dwindling economy vis-a-vis growing the sport.

The vision of current CFN board I assumed office after the election last year, but I have been in the activity for a long time.
I have been vice president and I have been in the board before I was eventually elected as the President of the federation.
First and foremost, I’m a cyclist and I practice anytime I participated with groups that carry out cycling activities at several occasions mainly in Port Harcourt, Calabar and even in Abuja.
Many years ago, we saw how the sport that has very high potential can be even driven in a way to express and give opportunity to many people both male and female.
I’m talking as back as 2004.
Eventually, from Port Harcourt, we are trying to group the people and organize competition.
We have had the first, second and even third edition.
We try to be constant, it is important to be constant in whatever you want to achieve and also have very good planning.
Eventually it has been touching Abuja, Lagos and even other places in the country.
And we are trying as a federation to make cycling one of the major events in Nigeria.
As I said Nigeria is blessed with a lot of human resources for this type of sports both male and female and eventually some results have been yielded but unfortunately not publicized as it’s supposed to be, but we have achieved a very high level result especially with the women team in the continent and in the country.
Wasting Velodrome Anyway, as I said we are trying to think outside the box.
As a cyclist, when you are on the saddle, you must commit yourself and join your capability both in physical and mental power which are the techniques which leads to achieving the goal and getting a good result.
At the same time, the federation in presenting its activities is leading in that way.
The velodrome built in 2003 which serves as our competition venue, officially is the best in Africa.
There are some others but they cannot be compared to the one here, but unfortunately since 2003 for one reason or the other, it has not been used because it has hasn’t obtained certification.
Now, we are trying to put a way to make sure that the velodrome is utilized.
This is a big opportunity for many person most especially youths.
You know the activity of cycling is not to the athletes alone.
There are a lot of parallel activities like physiotherapists, nutritionist, masseuse etc.
Just to tell you it can give a lot of opportunity in terms of jobs to any person and moreover, cycling as an activity goes beyond the sport.
It’s attached to a lot of things like health benefits.
Impact of cycling Let me remind you that earlier this year, the United Nations declared June 3 as the world cycling day and not to be less than other countries, we have partnered with FRSC and did programme all over the states.
The major was even done in Abuja and we visited many ministries including ministry of works, health, transport etc.
Just to make an advocacy of these activities and everybody pledged to either support or partner to make this thing a success.
So, cycling, beyond the sports, is capable of bringing a lot of benefits for the people of the country.
First and foremost, it creates job opportunities, then better environment, because even when you are taking cycling as a means of transportation, you can see that you are decongesting the traffic and at the same time reducing pollution of the environment and general Peoples’ health.
Let me even tell you that cycling is the sport that you can start at a tender age to an advanced one, compared to other sports, although, not in a competitive way when you are advanced in age.
In that way to think out of the box, we are thinking of the grassroots we tried to partner with schools to make camps and clinics in all the states of the federation.
We know now that Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja are the three major centers where this activity is practiced but let’s see that all the six geopolitical zones are involved in this.
In fact we are organizing for them.
We have achieved a lot especially with the female team.
We have to note that at the African championship, they have achieved a lot of result.
In Namibia, they won bronze, In Egypt they won silver, both in teams’ trial and individual.
In south Africa, in the track when we have not practice, we got two bronze, even without experience in that field.
You know we have track cycling and any other type.
We have different discipline within cycling that can bring opportunity for other people.
As I said, we achieved the highest in 2015 All Africa Games by getting the Gold.
We beat even South Africa and Eretria.
Many people don’t know this.
Even sometimes, publicity is very essential because you can achieve a big result but if people don’t know, they can think nothing is happening.
The males unfortunately are not as high, but in the last Benin tour, they emerged second and there were several other West African countries and beyond that participated and even in the in the Togo tour.
We have now in front of us an event where the elite female national team would go just in a few days, we have been invited in Italy with other nationals, about 22 nationalities from 11 to 14 which will be in three stages and it will be challenging because we have altitude that is not a flat terrain.
And our female team, five of them that will travel on September 9 and participate in the event.
We are very proud.
Whatever happens there, they will see that we have started putting attention on our Cycling is one of the sports considered as a lesser event due to the level of interest and perhaps awareness created over the years on it.
However, the incumbent President of Cycling Federation of Nigeria, an Italian-born Nigerian, Giandomenico Massari for the first time spoke extensively on the challenges and impact cycling could make in Nigeria’s dwindling economy vis-a-vis growing the sport.
Creating jobs through cycling, my main concern –Massari cyclists, beyond the continent and it is an opportunity for them to be seen and even recruited in the international team.
That is the importance of that.
So preparations are in top gear, they have been in camp for four weeks in Jos and at the moment, they are finalizing things in Port Harcourt because we are moving from there.
Any sport can give opportunity.
Cycling is not exempted because if you are thinking that other countries with minor population.
For example – Mauritius are not up to a million in population and they are leading in cycling and other sports.
Sport is the way that gives opportunity to your people first and also gives a name to your country and be seen in a positive way.
It can be beneficial to the economy and even the country as well.
So sport generally is important.
Our partnership with federal government, private sector We are not expecting the government to give everything to us, the government has to facilitate.
We are trying to scout sponsors from the private sector even to do corporate social responsibility.
But let’s consider the people that even reap some benefit for the nation and assist the population.
Sports is the way to assist them.
It is a way to imbibe in them discipline because sport has a peculiarity to mold the character of a person.
Fortunately, we have a board that is really ready to make the change, we are working together.
It’s not a one man show, it is the board that makes sure that ideas come out to make things different and bring not only glory to the sports but opportunities to the people.
You know unemployment is the first problem of any country.
So the more jobs you create, the better the society would be.
One of the biggest problems in Nigeria is that we believe too much in oil.
Manufacturing is better, because oil will not be forever.
Moreover, there is a mistake done for many years to exploit oil and instead create other industries, you are just sending the oil oversees and eventually you are obliged to purchase oil products at 10 times more than what you are paid, initially when you export it.
The richest man in Africa, Dangote is in manufacturing.
So sometimes, when we are scouting, oil companies are not really interested to come into this type of sponsorship except it is an event.
So we are trying in other sectors that can fit into this.
You know there are two types of sponsorship – when you are hosting an event, then you can attract some sponsors because the event would be one or two to three days and they know that a lot of people would be around to watch the race so any publicity you are doing either on the shirt, banner or anything you put, the advertisement would be seen by many people, so they are ready to come.
But, when you are proposing to them to support the national team – both male and female, unless they have interest in the sports, they are not so prone to come because they think of who would see their logo or publicity.
Is it just the people in camp sometimes? So we need to create a culture on that because it is even more important to do the second one.
Notwithstanding, we are trying to outsource marketing because we have our contacts, but most times, it’s not just having the contact but to follow up as well.
So it requires a professional in that line that is making the things happen

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