By Ben Efe
Bahrain-based jumps and sprints coach, John Obeya believes that Nigerian athletics is doomed unless concrete steps are taken to arrest the chaos that is currently in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
Obeya who groomed Nigerian-born Ebere Agbapuownu to winning a World Championships silver medal for her adopted country Bahrain, stated that it was heart breaking that despite the abundance of talents in Nigeria, the country is lagging behind in the development of the sport. Worse still, those currently in charge have no clue on what to do to move the sport forward against the backdrop of the disputed federation’s elections in June 2017.
“Based on my interactions with AFN top shots at the last Worlds in London, I can safely conclude the future of athletics in Nigeria is bleak.
“There are no signs that they know the enormity of the work that is to be done to revive Nigerian athletics. There are no technocrats on board and as if that is not enough, the board is divided and so what do they hope to achieve with that kind of set up?
“It is rather sad that this is a country blessed with abundant athletics talents. What is lacking are facilities, training and motivation for these talents. Take the case of our girl Ebere who won silver at the World Championships. It took us just six months to get her to the level that she is.
“And it hurts so bad that there are so many Eberes in Nigeria, but because there is no motivation for the coaches, they are not keen to work and produce these athletes.
“There are so many of us abroad who want to come back and help. But is it this mess that we coming back to? There is just nothing like athletics in Nigeria at the moment.”