BY JUDE OPARA, Abuja
A former Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Patrick Ekeji has applauded Team Nigeria’s second place finish at the just-concluded African Games, saying it was the best way of repositioning Nigeria’s sports prowess in Africa.
Team Nigeria garnered 47 gold, 55 silver and 42 bronze to finish overall second behind Egypt which emerged as overall champions of the Games hosted by Congo.
Ekeji told Sports Vanguard in Abuja that with good strategy and implementation, Nigeria would take its place in sports in the continent.
“That is good for our sports; it just goes to say that with a good strategy, we can achieve so much.
“If the funds were available, the country will have entered for more sporting events; not entering in all of the sports means we were already short of some medals before we got into the Games.
“Second place is respectable and what this simply means is that with a good strategy and implementation we can achieve what we want to achieve,” Ekeji said.
The former international however, urged the NSC to immediately begin preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics, adding that the success at the African Games may not a guarantee a successful outing at the Olympics.
“This achievement is not significant for achieving success at the Olympics for certain reasons because the African Games is not a qualification competition; that you did well at the African Games does not automatically give you a qualification for the Olympic Games.
“Again, the African Games is not a world standard competition where you measure the depth and that is why best African athletes ranked among the best in the world in their various sports don’t participate.
“This is because for them, African Games does not signify anything since it is not properly sponsored,” he concluded.