Lagos - Kally Agogo, the Head Coach, Lagos State Sports Council, on Sunday appealed to the National Sports Commission (NSC) to expedite the fight against poaching in Nigeria sports.
Agogo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that poaching of athletes by other states was one of the factors militating against the growth of sports in the country.
He said the surest way the NSC could fight poaching was to compile the database of athletes and the states they represent before any National Sports Festival.
The coach observed that the trend of poaching usually became rampant at the approaching of the bi-ennial festival and that compilation of database would not make poaching possible.
Agogo said that poaching could also be reduced with every state giving "robust welfare package" to their athletes, stressing that an athlete with attractive monthly package would not be easily lured away.
"Poaching has eroded the originality of coaches and the standard of sports because they no longer put in their best to train and develop athletes.
"The NSC should help fight against it to ensure that lazy coaches are forced to work hard to discover and develop their talents.
"Lazy coaches at the approaching of the festival and most times with the support of their state sports council go round to lure athletes with money.
"These athletes are promised employment but are usually laid off after the fiesta."
Agogo said that any athlete caught poaching and coaches who indulged in poaching be sanctioned, stressing that poaching should have the same punishment like banned substances.
"No athlete can compete more than three times at the sports festival, if such policy is extended to poaching, sports will be promoted in the country."
He recalled that Lagos State athletes who defected to other states competed against the state at the 2011 festival in Port Harcourt.
Agogo urged other states coaches to emulate Lagos State coaches in the discharge of their duty and stop relying on other coaches’ efforts.
He commended the state government for given welfare packages to its coaches and athletes who participated at the last festival in Port Harcourt.
The coach expressed optimism that such gesture would also help reduce poaching.
Lagos State would host the 18th edition of the festival between Nov. 27 and Dec. 9.