Lagos — Youth and Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has identified the dearth of training facilities in Africa being responsible for the mass exodus of young talents from Africa to Europe, America, Asia and recently the Middle East.
Dalung, who stated this during a visit to Lagos-based Upbeat Recreation Centre, an ongoing private initiative construction of the first ever trampoline park in West Africa, therefore urged international federations to provide an enabling environment for African athletes to compete with their contemporaries from other continents.
"The joy of an athlete is to have the availability of facilities to train, and once these are available, athletes can remain in their countries train, raise their profiles, compete and make their countries proud. A time will come in international competitions when there will be no other country competing except African athletes competing against each other under different countries of the world," he said.
According to the minister, international federations should put developmental policies in place to invest in building training infrastructure in Africa to reduce the drain of talents.
"Integrity in sports entails a very free and fair enabling environment for participation. I think Africa has not gotten that. Sports have generally graduated into science. Today, there is no way you can make any positive impact in international competition without good training facilities. They are competing against so many odds because our athletes who remain at home contend with poor training facilities, poor funding and at the end, they end up in the same competitions against their fellow Africans with new nomenclatures," Dalung said.
The Minister commended the brain behind the world class facility Mrs Moyo Ogunseinde, the Executive Director of Uraga Real Estate for the massive facility of global standard which he said will go a long way to augment the training facilities needed by Nigerian athletes especially gymnasts when completed.