Former Athletics Federation of Nigeria president, Dan Ngerem has queried why local coaches are not getting the necessary support in their quest to scout for talents for the country but huge sums are paid to American coaches who add little or nothing in the development of our athletes.
And one of the local coaches who has been left to languish is Tobias Igwe with the moniker Toblow. Toblow was in tears last week when he called Sports Vanguard to appeal that it should help him talk to the authorities to support him as he was still capable of discovering talents for the country.
He couldn’t stop reeling out names like Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, Davidson Ezenwa, Uchenna Emedolu, Tina Iheagwam and Charity Opara, among others, whom he discovered and nurtured. These athletes went on to make great impact in the athletics world, giving the Americans a run for their money.
Today, Toblow is jobless not because he is lazy or tired of working but because those who should deploy him are not interested in developing athletics. As a grass-root coach, Toblow should be working with local and state governments.
He has done that in the past from where he was recognised and drafted to the national level.
Regrettable though, Toblow was sacked by the Enugu sports council. Why, he was asked? “They said I am not an indigene of the state. But they have refused to pay me my entitlements,” he said. From Enugu he journeyed to Abia where he discovered young talents that are also making waves today.
Again, the Abia government laid him off for the same reason as Enugu, not an Abian. Again, his entitlements remain unpaid.
Where is Toblow from, he was asked again? From Imo, he replied. But with a man who is not really keen on developing sports as governor, Toblow’s dream of helping Imo state discover and nurture world beaters in athletics will remain in the pipe.
However, if all the Igbo states which Toblow have described as “unfair to me” turn blind eyes towards a man with the Midas touch to turn rookies into stars, what is the national sports authorities doing to use him in making Nigeria great in athletics once again?
Toblow told Sports Vanguard that if he gets a quarter of the US$22,000 monthly pay the Sports ministry splashes on the two American coaches purportedly manning the non functioning High Performance Centre, the US and Jamaica will be scared of Nigeria in athletics once again.