Abuja — Permanent secretary, Ministry of youth and sports, Olusade Adesola has revealed that a total of 562 athletes and officials would represent Nigeria at the forthcoming 12th All-Africa Games (AAG) in Morocco.
Adesade who gave a breakdown of the contingent while briefing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, on the preparation of Team Nigeria for the continental sports showpiece, said 100 special guests would be part of the contingent.
He said the contingents would have 153 male and 178 155 female athletes, as well as 58 coaches.
Others are 27 medical personnel, 20 team secretaries, two advance party, four secretariat staff and two officials of NOC.
He added that the country would participate in 22 sports at the games. The sports are athletics, badminton, boxing, canoe-kayat, chess, cycling, gymnastics, judo, karate, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, basketball, beach volleyball, volleyball, football and handball.
He said the first batch of the contingent would depart for Morocco through chartered flights by Messrs. Air Peace on Friday, August 16, while the second batch would leave Nigeria on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.
Adesade assured the athletes and officials of their welfare and adequate caring at games, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved funds to pay their allowance while at the games village.
"There has been concern raised in some quarters, particularly the foreign based athletes on payments of allowances. I want to reassure that president Muhammadu Buhari, approved funds to pay allowances of athletes and officials while at the games village, off-shore training grants to desirable athletes, return tickets for foreign athletes and winning bonuses.
'Furthermore, while the general equipment for the Games is being procured by the Ministry, funds for athletes' specific equipment have been disbursed to the federations.
"As it has been the established practice overtime in the ninistry and for which athletes are fully aware, payment of aforementioned is made only at the Games and not upfront," he said.
He recalled the subsisting regulation established in 2015 that 'No Brazzaville, No Rio' meaning 'No representation at the AAG, No participation in Tokyo 2020'. He said is the fact the All African Games serves as qualifiers for some sporting events of the Olympics.
He commended the presidents of sports federations for their efforts towards Team Nigeria's successful outing in Morocco.
"Let me acknowledge the hardworking of the presidents of the federations and their boards. The boards of the 22 sporting federations that will feature at the games are all working hard to realize the medal targets they had committed to achieve."
According to Adesade, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) had committed to deliver to 20 gold medals to Nigeria.
The 12th AAG will take place from August 19 to 31 in Rabat, Morocco and this will be the first time that the African Games will be hosted by the country.
Four zones - Rabat, Casablanca, El Jadida and Khemisset will host the events during the games while the opening and closing ceremonies will hold at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
The Rabat zone will host athletics, volleyball, basketball, football, weightlifting, boxing, gymnastics, triathlon, table tennis, shooting, equestrian, archery, fencing and tennis. The Casablanca zone will host swimming, handball, karate, taekwondo and badminton. The El Jadida zone will host wrestling while the Khemisset zone will host rowing and canoe-kayak.