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Urhobo: Nigerian athletes, coaches are pathetic

Former Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN president and renowned coach, Tony Urhobo has lamented the plight of Nigerian athletes and their coaches.

Urhobo said that Nigerian athletes and coaches have been left behind by the rest of the world, because of the seeming neglect of the sport by those in authority.

“There is nothing left in Nigerian track and field. There is no motivation for the coaches to work and our athletes have simply resorted to drugs to enhance their performances,” said the Delta-born athletics buff. He urged the government to urgently address the situation if the country is to return to glory in the sport. “ In the past as a coach, I knew how much I earned. I even had a car attached to me. But today we have coaches who are begging from their poor athletes.

“In 2003 I was coach of Benin Republic. I still remember how the government usually gives the top athletes N20,000 month  for food supplement. This is aside other monetary incentives.

“Other countries make sure that their athletes have the right nutrition. This is what is giving them the edge over our athletes.

“Nigerian athletes do not have this kind of luxury and nutrition is an important aspect of their training. This is why they have resorted to unprescribed drugs to keep them in shape. The whole scenario is pathetic,” said Urhobo.

He disclosed that this was why he shunned an invitation to join in the Commonwealth Games camp of the AFN when he was invited as one of the coaches.

“I was invited by the AFN president and I gave him conditions. He told me that there was no money yet from the government for the camp, but I should keep working.

“I felt that at this stage there are certain things we shouldn’t be taking for granted. That is why I turned down the chance to work with the athletes,” Urhobo said.


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