A board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Brown Ebewele has predicted that his federation would only make up the numbers when hostilities begin at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
In fact, Ebewele, a former Sports Commissioner in Edo State says the AFN has no business going for the Commonwealth Games since majority of the athletes the federation hopes to parade are not medal prospects.
He also reacted to the sudden disappearance of national athlete, Emmanuel Bamidele from AFN's Commonwealth Games camp in Port Harcourt, saying: "Since we no longer have capable people managing our athletes, I don't see any reason why they won't run away to other countries."
Bamidele, who took part in the Commonwealth Games trials in Abuja and ran 45.28 seconds in the men's 400m, was named in the 37-man squad for Gold Coast 2018 Games in Australia. He was said to have disappeared from Team Nigeria's camp a few days ago, with reports suggesting that he may have been lured away by oil-rich nation, Qatar.
Ebewele told The Guardian that anybody hoping on the AFN to come to Nigeria's rescue at the Commonwealth Games in terms of medal should have a re-think.
"Where are the athletes that will do the business for Nigeria at the Games? Even when we had the likes of Falilat Ogunkoya, Fatima Yusuf, Charity Opara, Mary Onyali, Endurance Ojokolo and others running so well for the country, we still struggled to win medals. Now, the performance of our athletes has gone so low, and some people are deceiving Nigerians that the AFN will win many medals at the Commonwealth Games.
"Maybe, Emmanuel Bamidele who has just disappeared from the camp could have scrambled something in the 400m. Now, he is nowhere to be found. Our major hope for medals could have been the women's100m hurdles. But the timing of the Commonwealth Games is not favorable to our athletes in the United States, so they may not be at the Games. Our best male sprinter at the moment, Divine Oduduru is not also available. Where is AFN going to get the medals in Australia," Ebewele asked.
AFN Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye, had told The Guardian earlier in the week that though the federation had capable athletes, who could step into Bamidele's shoes, they were investigating his disappearance from camp.