Egbunike Can’t Handle Nigerian Athletes —Okagbare

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One of Nigeria’s brightest medal prospects in athletics at the 2012 London Olympics, Blessing Okagbare, believes that their Chief Coach, Innocent Egbunike, is not capable of handling them at the Games.

Former African 400 metres champion, Innocent Egbunike, was appointed in January by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN as chief coach of the country’s athletics team to the Olympics in London.

Okagbare, Nigeria’s current best female sprinter, believes that Egbunike might not be able to bring out the best in the athletes, who are currently in the Nigerian camp in Atlanta, USA, saying he is not competent in sprint races.

The bronze medallist in the long jump at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China said: “I don’t see coach Egbunike making any significant impact on sprint athletes in the Nigerian camp, considering the fact that he is not versatile in the short distance race.”

Okagbare questioned the interpersonal managerial skill of Egbunike, saying that since he was appointed as the chief coach of the athletics team, she has not spoken with him.

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“I learnt through the media that he is the new coach but I have not spoken with him since he was appointed as chief coach,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s bronze medallist in the 200m at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, USA, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, has hailed the appointment of Egbunike, adding that his appointment would increase Nigeria’s medal prospects in London.

Nigeria’s athletics team are currently in close camping in Atlanta, USA, preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London. The Games hold between 27 July and 12 August, 2012.

—Bamidele Olowosagba

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