Westerhof had carved a niche for himself as the only expatriate coach whose tenure witnessed unprecedented achievements with Nigeria’s senior national team winning the Africa Nations Cup for the second time in Tunisia in 1994 and playing in the world cup for the first time in the same year.
Since then, it is widely believed that he is the expatriate football tactician who understands the mentality of Nigerian footballers and administrators and is always tipped to take over the Super Eagles at the slightest opportunity.
However, speaking recently in Abuja, the minister of sports said considering the great work which the Dutchman is doing at the Kwara Football Academy, he would not allow him to be distracted.
He said that instead of coming back to coach the Super Eagles, the coach who is helping the nation in building the future of Nigeria football should be allowed to concentrate on his present assignment because that is what he knows how to do best.
“What Westerhof is doing is what we are supposed to be doing. He is grooming new talented players and the Kwara academy U-17 team played against our team and they drew” he stated
Ndanusa said that at the moment, Nigeria can boast of two standing national U-17 teams, one in Abuja currently preparing for the FIFA World championship and the one under Westerhof in Ilorin.
The minister who spoke intensively on the need for state governments to cultivate the good habit of building sports academies just as he urged them to emulate the good example of the governor of Kwara state who has shown readiness to set up even more academies.
He said Nigeria boasts of thirty four states and if each of the thirty six states chooses to identify with even one sport, there will be a dramatic turn around in the fortunes of Nigerian sports.
Ndanusa re-emphasised the need for community sports development centres as he said it is only through such initiative that the catch them young programme will have meaning.
The minister said lack of sporting facilities at the grassroots has hindered early identification of talents saying that instead of catching athletes young, most of them are caught when they have become old.