By Solomon Nwoke
FORMER African fastest woman, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi is so sure that the present Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) boss, Chief Solomon Ogba has the capacity to turn- around the lot of athletics in the country.
The ever elegant former Queen of the tracks predicted that in the next three years, athletics in the country would be the envy of other sports and even challenge football in Nigeria. She said Chief Ogba has been around the sport for quite a long time and has the credentials to stir the sport.
â€œChief Solomon Ogba will lead athletics in the country to its promised land. I am sure he has a big plan for a bright future for athletics in Nigeria. In Delta state we saw what he did there. He has a tested credentials and capacity to give the sport a facelift. Give him the next three years and he will turn things around for better. Rome was not built in a day. He needs time to put in place what he has come to doâ€, she noted.
Making some projections on the future of the sport in the country, Onyali-Omagbemi said â€œ I believe in the next five years if everything is done quickly, we should be able to have another replacement for Onyali. We have the talents, theyâ€™re all roaming the streets without direction, with nowhere to go and no facilities to train withâ€.
She said that preparation towards the forthcoming Commonwealth Games is in place saying that Sports Minister Sani Ndanusa and his Director General (DG), Patrick Ekeji have been working tirelessly to find a strong team to represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games.
â€œ It has not been easy owing to the fact that they are both new in the office and sports is not something you develop overnight. It takes eight to 10 years to make an Olympic Champion. We have the talents scattered all over the nooks and crannies of this country. I believe that once what the minister is trying to put in place clicks, weâ€™ll be well represented in the next Commonwealth Games.