By Onochie Anibeze,in Berlin, Germany
Sports wear manufacturing giants, Nike were so moved by the association of legendary Lee Evans with Nigeria that they promptly moved to kit the country that calls themselves giants of Africa.
Nigeria is one of the few countries here without any kitting contract. Following the plunge athletics took in Nigeria, sponsors stayed away. Nike even withdrew from kitting Super Eagles when the countryâ€™s football continued to drop and the football association also failed to respect the contract which was well packaged then by Noel Okorougo, a well grounded businessman and sports marketer.
Evans, the great American who was largely responsible for the height the sport attained in the 80s and early 90s, is now behind the contract Nike is ready to offer Nigeria. But before signing of the contract, the company is already kitting Nigeria. They are monitoring the changes in Nigeria and they feel that it could be right to invest in the country again, this time in track and field.
â€œwhat they have given is unprecedented in our track and field. Our athletes are happy. Nike respects Evans tremendously and they have agreed to do great things for us. It a huge step for us and Nike will not regret associating with us,â€ Ogba said.
He said it behoves on the federation to quickly engage Evans and Ron Davies, the speciallist in long distance races.
â€œwe just have to look for money to employ Evans,â€
Ogba continued. â€œThere are many advantages in working with him. I know how his mere association with us here has boosted us before others. Some countries even want to hire him so we have to move fast.â€
Evans was the first person to run 400m under 44 seconds and his record stood for 20 years.