Vanguard (Lagos)

22 August 2012

Nigeria: Egbunike Urges Support for Abdullahi

Photo: Facebook/TeamNigeria
Nigeria's Football Team

The head coach of Team Nigeria track and field team to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Innocent Egbunike has urged Nigerians to support the planned restructuring of sports in Nigeria by the Honourable Minister of Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission (NSC) Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. " Between 1999 when we returned to civil rule and today, we have appointed about thirteen to fourteen Sports Ministers , this is not good for development.

Sepp Blatter became the President of FIFA in 1998, he is still there today, Lamine Diack has been the president of IAAF since Primo Nebiolo passed on 2000,, for development to take place, we need somebody like Mallam Abdullahi to be given a free hand and all the supports he will be needing to build a foundation that his successor as Sports Minister in 2015 will build on" Egbunike, the first Nigerian to win an IAAF world champioship medal on the track also exonerated Abdullahi from Team Nigeria's failure at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

" The rot in our sports has been there for about two decades or more, there is no way Mallam Abdullahi, who was confirmed Sports Minister two months ago can turn around the situation. Even if we give him all the support and encouragement he needs to rebuild sports now, his efforts will not start yielding result in another four years."

But since he now understands the industry he should be allowed to lay the foundation for our eventual domination of global sports.

We have the same talents as the Jamaicans, all we need do is to have a long term programme and we will rule the world", Egbunike, an Olympics medalist, whose ward Chris Brown helped Bahamas 4X400M team to win the gold medal at London Games believed that he can achieve more with Team Nigeria if we plan ahead.

" Like the 2014 Commonwealth Games, we should identify our athletes that are in the top ten in the sports that we wanted to participate in Glasgow now, and start supporting them with training grants and exposing them to competitions, by Glasgow they will be in top shape, it is this same set of athletes, that we will take to Rio in 2016, I believe Mallam Abdullahi has the leadership qualities and drive to achieve all the above if given all the support and encouragement he needs to succeed"' said Egbunike.

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