Scrabble underrated in Nigeria, says coach

Nigeria’s best scrabble player, Moses Peter, has said that scrabble was not given the attention it deserved in the country.

Peter, who is currently the World No. 2 player said  on Sunday in Ilorin that scrabble was one of the sports in Nigeria that could produce a world champion but not well recognised here.

Peter, who is also the coach of Akwa Ibom scrabble team to the ongoing National Youth Games in Ilorin, said the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development was not encouraging other sports in the country.

“We are disappointed with the way we are treated as a federation and the way the sports ministry is treating us as athletes.

“As we speak, we are the best scrabble playing nation in the world, we are the only country that produced a world champion two years ago and now a second world champion, which is myself, but we are not getting any recognition here at home.

“To whom much is given, much is expected, we have done our bit. But the ministry isn’t doing what it ought to do for other sports let alone scrabble.

“We are just pleading now that it should come to our aid because football is not the only sport in the country.

“Government should try to give even if its a percentage of what football gets to other sports and see how Nigeria will perform in Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and other championships,” Peter said.

He lamented the initial removal of scrabble from the National Sports Festival, saying it would have portrayed us in a bad light internationally.

“I do not want to imagine when scrabble was taken out from the National Sports Festival, I couldn’t fathom the rationale behind it, though it is back.

“’I commend those who made it possible for scrabble to be reinstated, but it was an anomaly.

“Imagine what the world scrabble body will be thinking, that the people we hold in high esteem are not even worth reckoning with in their country, it would have been a slap on our faces,” the Akwa Ibom coach said.

He, however, noted that efforts were ongoing to ensure that scrabble becomes more viewer-friendly to attract more followership.

“Right now, we are looking for a way to make scrabble viewer-friendly because before now, people are not allowed to move close to where it is being played because people can try to influence the kids, so they tend to try and curb the excesses.

“But today, sports is all about fan base and making money. And you cannot see people loving sports that they cannot go close to watch.

“Such sport cannot fly in terms of sponsorship and following. So, we are trying to see how to make scrabble a more viewer-friendly game.

“This is to ensure that the world over will see scrabble in a different light, and from there, sponsorship will come.

“With that we know that in the shortest possible time, scrabble will get the sponsorship and recognition it deserves in this country and beyond. (NAN)