Let’s Play Sports Politics, Envoy Tasks Sports Ministry

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Nigerian Ambassador to Mozambique, Toye Olofintuyi, has charged sports adminstrators, especially at the National Sports Commission, NSC, to be actively involved in sports politics on the continent to save Nigeria from being sidelined in future competitions.

He said the country risked being rigged out on the medals’ chart in future All Africa Games if officials are not actively involved in sports politics in Africa.

Commenting on Team Nigeria’s performance at the recently concluded All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, Olofintuyi said the nation’s contingent put up a good performance but lost to politics.

“Our sports administrators need to be more focused on sports politics. They need to involve in it. We lost vital points in Maputo to boardroom politics. It’s true that we have talents but we are far behind in the boardroom game,” he said.

He, however, commended the nation’s athletes for their commitment and dedication to the national call, saying “their never say die” attitude at the Games would continue to linger in his memory.

Meanwhile, national and African record holder in long jump, Yusuf Ali, has charged the NSC to embark on a developmental programme aimed at nurturing athletes to stardom instead of focusing on major competitions as a means of developing athletes.

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Commenting on the third position of Team Nigeria at the games in Mozambique, Ali said the position was good if the build-up to the games was considered critically.

“I’m satisfied with the position because our athletes were not monitored properly for the competition. It was few weeks to the games that the Sports Ministry started monitoring the athletes. They believe in fire brigade approach to major tournaments,” he said.

The former Nigerian Olympic Games captain said the ministry disburses funds for major competitions to the deteriment of talent-discovery programmes, and tasked the ministry to focus on school sports programmes.

“Many of the great generation of Nigerian athletes were discovered from school sports but some people, due to their personal interest, crippled the programme. They need to go back to the basics and catch them young for future glory,” he said.

—Olusegun Abidoye