January 1, 2014

Athletics: Ebewele blames poor performance on inadequate funding

Race to the finish… Nigeria athletes eking out a career at the Golden League.

Former Technical Director, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Brown Ebewele has posited that athletes could not perform optimally in 2013 because of inadequacy of funds to prepare for competitions.
Ebewele said in Benin that if the required funds were in place athletes would have prepared adequately to perform better than they did.

“The truth of the matter is that we did our best but we could have done better with adequate funding.
“If you consider what government puts in, there is really nothing to take away. We are not investing in sports the way it should be funded.

“Until we learn to invest properly in sports and manage the athletes well, we should not expect anything worthwhile from the AFN and its athletes.

Ebewele, who was also a former Commissioner for Sports in Edo, said that preparation for major international competitions  required adequate funding for a successful outing.

“At the level of the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, you must take very seriously funding and management of our athletes.

“I am saying emphatically that until that aspect is given attention, we are still going to be where we are.
“Having been part of the system for a long time, all the participants in the process are like what the late Afro-beat King, Fela Anikulapo called ‘suffering and smiling’.

“You honestly don’t expect to compete with the best in the world carrying on with such attitude. You may expect so much, but you will certainly achieve very little,” he said.

Ebewele, fondly called “Juju man” by his admirers, regretted that nothing concrete had been done to address the country’s dismal outing at the London 2012 Olympics.