By Ben Efe
Athletics Federation of Nigeria officials have decried the seeming lukewarm attitude of the National Sports Commission towards preparation of Nigerian athletes for the maiden Africa Youth Athletics Championships billed to start March 27 in Warri, Delta State.
Nigerian athletes have been in camp for over a week in Port Harcourt preparing for the championships and the AFN president, Solomon Ogba, it was gathered, has been shouldering the financial burden. According to the Dr. Jide Josaish, the National Sports Commission has so far kept a distance believing that DeltaState will bear the cost of preparing Nigeria’s contigent for the championships.
“We are still expecting funds from the NSC. It has not contributed to either the preparation or hosting of this championships. Delta is only hosting and that is what matters to them.
“University of Port only gave us accommodation, which we are grateful for. Feeding, payment of allowances, provision of medicals have been borne by our president,” said Josiah. “We have 60 athletes in camp to fight for 20 gold medals at the championships. And government has no hand in it, is this how they treated the under-20 team currently in Algeria for the African youth championship?”
He argued that athletics have always been suffering neglect, whereas the country’s athletes have always done well to the glory of Nigeria.
“We went to Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Canada, Botswana etc all youth and junior competitions we were not paid allowances Ogba just gave what he could afford.” There was no immediate response from NSC officials yesterday. But according to sources, the NSC officials felt like they were not being “carried along” in the hosting of the championships.