To set up structures at the zones
By Onochie Anibeze
After working as a coach in USA and Qatar, Nigeria’s Innocent Egbunike is excited by the plan of the Sports Ministry to hire him for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
Sports Minister Yusuf Suleiman had, during the Maputo All Africa Games, said that Egbunike should not only be hired but also given a long term contract so that he could develop Nigerian athletes again.
“I have always wanted to return home to contribute in training and developing our athletes and the present plan to offer me job to do this excites,” Egbunike said, adding “the question of my interest at home and working at home has never been in doubt.
I’m ready to come home, live in Nigeria and work there.” Egbunike spoke from his USA base yesterday. He had been invited to observe Nigerian athletes at the last All Africa Games and he expressed hope that things would be right again if the right things were done.
He was instrumental to Nigeria’s silver medal in the Relay Event of Sydney Olympics and had helped in other occasions but he was always called in just before the events. This time the plan is to engage him to work at home.
“There’s a lot of work to be done at home and with the co-operation and support of everybody, we, as a team, will surmount the challenges,” Egbunike said, dispelling initial fears that he was not ready to base in Nigeria to deliver.
“It’s not true,” he said, adding “no coach can base abroad and succeed.”
Egbunike even plans to set up coaching and training structures at different zones in the country and will come out with details on how he intends to work if the ministry finally offers him a contract.
Director-General of the National Sports Commission Dr. Patrick Ekeji who is the brain behind the move to engage Egbunike is pulling all strings to ensure that Nigeria does well at the London Olympics and engaging Egbunike is part of his plan. AFN President Solomom Ogba once said that he would welcome hiring Egbunike if the former international star agrees to base in Nigeria.
Egbunike was not happy that people had misconstrued his vision for Nigeria.