Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN on Thursday announced the appointment of US track star, Maurice Greene to coordinate its relay teams to the IAAF World Relays, African Championships and the Commonwealth Games this year.
Nice as the move seems to be, Sydney 2000 Olympics 4x400m gold medalists Clement Chuwkwu and Enefiok Udo-Obong have expressed doubts if Greene with no coaching records can make any difference.
Greene stated in his letter of acceptance that he is eager to work with Team Nigeria, but according to Udo-Obong who was writing on his blog sportswithenee.com, the appointment is just a waste.
“He was the best sprinter in the world…yes… But what is his pedigree in coaching? Who has he worked with to justify his selection? As a motivator, yes I would have supported, but not if being paid with resources that could have trained our athletes and coaches back home, organize competitions and give some aid to our long suffering and neglected home based athletes.
“We have had Nigerian coaches that coached world champions….we have produced world beating relay teams..all with Nigerian coaches..why does it have to be any different now? How much is he being paid? What’s the role of those coaches taken from here?
Speaking on the issue, Chukwu stated that in all the Olympics medals Nigeria won, there wasn’t any foreign help, and the funds that will be used to finance the Greene adventure could be put to better use.
“Green is not going to make any difference. The last I checked Nigeria did fine in the relays without foreign consultation.
“My question is why now? Money spent in this undertaking can be used to do better things back home,” Chukwu surmised.
But renowned coach, Taiwo Ariyo sees it differently. He said Nigerian athletics enthusiasts should duel on the positive side.
“Maurice Greene is a great name and figure to be associated with Nigerian sports. If we do the right thing It doesn’t take much time to see the result. I am in support of big name athletes and coaches being invited to Nigeria, it is good for our athletics
“But personally I think we should concentrate more on developing the vast talents we have in Nigeria. Even if you bring the best of the bests to just coordinate, They can only coordinate what they meet on ground,” said the coach popularly known as Mr. T.