By Onochie Anibeze, In Berlin, Germany
Lee Evans would have to do it his own way if he eventually starts as the head coach of Nigeriaâ€™s track and field.Thereâ€™s no cohesion in the Nigerian team here at the World Championship and the American legend feels Nigeria could do better with time. And that time will be when he is in control of things. That way,Â he could bring his style to bear on all.
â€œIâ€™m not in control of anybody here,â€ he said in their Berlin Hotel yesterday.He was not originally meant to be in charge here. The new AFN President, Solomon Ogba, had invited him to the Abuja Grand Prix and the last All Nigeria Open and the plan was for him to accompany the Nigerian team to Berlin as an observer.
Thereafter plans of his engagement could be announced after due consultations. But apparently worried by the state of athletics back home Ogba asked Evans to join the Nigerian camp in Abuja. This has not worked out as athletes from different coaches had issues integrating and assimilating new training schedules. Evans said this much to us yesterday.
â€œThe Jamaicans are a team, the US are a team here but we are not a team yet.
Iâ€™m not in control of the athletes. This athlete tells you of his programme and the other athlete says same thing. If I get to start, we will have to be a team. I am going to be working with the local athletes in Nigeria. If an athlete is coming from Europe or USA and cannot fit into our programme during competitions, then the athlete can stay away.
I understand that we are talking about individual sports and athletes have their coaches. I clearly understand that and will always respect the work of other coaches with their athletes. But Iâ€™m talking of team work. That you have your personal coach does not mean you canâ€™t work with the national team. Thereâ€™s a way the two are blended but a team is a team. We are no team here but that will change with time.â€