By Ben Efe
Top Nigerian athletics coach, Taiwo Ariyo has called for a total change of leadership at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria following the country’s failure to win a single medal in two consecutive Olympic Games.
Ariyo, fondly called Mr. T by his admirers stated that the current board led by Solomon Ogba has totally failed the nation and therefore as election into the sporting federations looms, only people who have ideas and genuine commitment to move the sport from its present comatose state should be considered to run the athletics. According to him this is the only way the country can make any positive impact in global sports contest.
He argued that Ogba might have meant well but his passion for the sport could not be equated with the need to run athletics professionally.
“It is a shame the level our athletics have descended into. Are the former athletes running after Ogba qualified coaches? Is it coaches that are not qualified that they invited to national team? Are they ones that will able to make change?
“It is a shame! This is is like playing with the life of the athletes. And also you bring people from the USA to run an elite training programme and they can’t even make a positive contribution?
“Again why is Ogba spending money bringing tired athletes from the US who cannot even win African titles instead of spending only on our athletes who can do very well. Check out the list of Nigerian athletes going to the Bahrain and elsewhere, see how good they are doing. Nigerian athletes cannot be slaves in their own country.
“If there is no money to run athletics in Nigeria, let the whole world know there is no money, instead of doing things the wrong way and expecting results.
“This is sports and not politics. If you are not qualified don’t even think about going into it.
“We have athletes from Nigeria running for other countries and they are doing great . Then we go to America to give money to athletes that can’t do us any good. It’s a shame,” said Ariyo, who has travelled round the Middle East coaching.