By Ben Efe
Concerned about the dearth of sporting talents in the country, Nigerian coaches have taken a swipe at the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung for failing to organise the National Sports Festival.
The last festival was held in Lagos 2012, and Cross River State was meant to host it in 2014, but a change of administration and political intrigues have put a permanent halt to the biannual sports fiesta, where sporting talents are discovered.
First to fire the salvo was Dr. Ferguson Oluigbo president professional teakwondo coaches association of Nigeria. He lamented that Nigerian sports was in dire straights, yet administrators still scramble to take Nigerian athletes abroad for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
“What does it take to organise the national sports festival? Five years is gone from the last date it was organised in Lagos.
“Nothing is happening and we continue to ignore the fact that the sports festival is an important aspect of our sports development. It offers an avenue for us coaches to discover talents and groom to the world level.
“The say facilities are not ready. Why then don’t they go to states that have facilities? The Abuja National Stadium facilities are there rotting away. These people are not ready to run the sports festival,” Oluigbo said. He added coaches should be empowered to go the grassroots and discover athletes.
“Again even if you don’t want to run the festival…coaches are just idling away, empower them to go the grassroots and discover athletes and groom for intentional sports.
“It is only when there is Commonwealth games and Olympics the sports ministry comes alive, because that is the only way they can earn estacodes.
“And they expect to win laurels; when other countries who are working very hard at developing their athletes? The law of nature will not be kind if we win and others who prepared didn’t win.”
Former Nigeria Wrestling Federation board member and Cross River director of sports, Jude Amadi submitted that Cross River not hosting the festival was down to politics, which does not augur well for Sports in the country.