Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 2016 Olympics - Start Preparations Now, Egbunike Tells AFN, NSC

Nigeria's athletics chief coach to the London 2012 Olympics, Innocent Egbunike has called on the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN and the National Sports Commission, NSC to close ranks and begin to kick start an enduring programme that will put Nigeria's name on the medals table at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Egbunike, who was speaking from his base in Atlanta, USA, stated that he has already put down a road map that will lead Nigeria to achieving glory, but he added that the country must have to start something now.

Flags of various nations, including Norway (C) and Nigeria (2nd-R), are displayed during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO

"I am still at the service of this great nation. I am only just praying and waiting for the authorities to give me the go-ahead for us to run these programmes. We have to start something now, otherwise four years will roll by and then, there we go again.

"There is the world champi-onships next year. We need to put everything together as soon as possible," said the former African 400m champion and Nigeria's record holder for 25 years running.

He added that Nigeria has talents and what is left to be done was for the relevant authorities to put down policy guidelines that will guarantee results in international competitions.

"I have spoken to the sports minister and the AFN president. They mean very well for the country's athletics and so it is time for everyone of us to come together and make things work for the good of Nigeria,"he said.

Egbunike was drafted into the Nigerian team four months to the Olympics. He led the Nigeria team to victory for the first time in 10 years at the African Championships in Porto Novo, Benin Republic in June, 2012.

But he had warned that the success wasn't enough for the Nigerian team to do well at the London 2012 Olympics since Nigeria had started preparations late.

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