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Periscoping Nigeria’s Olympics performance




Analysts say this may be the worst showing for Nigerian athletes



ahmed musa (2)By Lukman Akintola


Nigeria’s sporting activities have not been exempted from the tide of change that has bewildered various sectors in the country. This is not unconnected with the poor planning that trailed Nigerian athletes’ performance at the just concluded Olympic Games at Rio. This has revealed the careless attitude of the ministry of sport and youth development towards acgirving success from the nation’s activities.

Sports, which is known to be a major “unifying factor” in Nigeria, is now suffering from ineffective management and insufficient funding. It is apparent that President Mohammodu Buhari’s aim to reduce national spending has affected the Nigeria’s sporting activities and this has in turn affect Nigeria’s athletes performance at the world biggest sporting event.

Lamentations from Nigerian athletes have exposed the poor management of the country’s sporting activities by this administration. This is evident in the statement of Regina George, when she sought funds from friends and family to get to Rio.

“Have just been told that we will have to pay our own way to the Olympics this year… I don’t want to stop now after I earned a spot to represent my country in the Olympics. Any donation will help my situation.” She said

In addition, Segun Toriola, a renowned Nigerian table tennis player described Nigerian athletes’ preparation for the Rio Olympic Games as a poor one. He argued that this has never happened before and this reveals that the government has been dormant in the build up to Rio 2016.

“I don’t think we ever had it so bad like this because even the last Olympics in London, by this time we had started preparation. With the current situation, I don’t think any athlete can do much in Brazil. It is disheartening that nobody is even telling the athletes what is the next thing we need to do. I think nobody should expect much from the athletes because most of our opponents are rounding up their preparation now while we have not even started.” He expressed

In the same vein, the Nigeria Dream team VI coach, Samson Siasia also complained poor funding from the federal government as the team got stuck at Atlanta, United States.

“It is not a good image to go to the Olympics while trying to beg for money around, actually begging people for money to take care of the Nigerian Olympic team. How are we going to win gold, if we keep begging for money to take care of our athletes?” Samson Siasia, coach of the football team lamented. We don’t have money. We are in the (United States of) America now without any money in our pocket. There are no funds coming from anywhere. So, it is a big problem,” he lamented

Failed Promises

The Buhari led administration has made several promises to Nigerian athletes during the build up to the Olympic Games at Rio. However, most of these promises were not fulfilled and athletes had to resort to begging of fund of social media. This is apparently not good for Nigeria’s international image.

  • President Buhari; Let me equally assure that the federal government is fully committed to our delegation’s successful participation in the Rio Olympic Games and will ensure that funds budgeted for the Games are released without further delay.
  • Solomon Dalung: Apart from the budget, we will appeal to the multinational companies to support the Olympic course. We on our part will provide all the logistics to ensure that athletes are in high spirit before and during the Games

How has it been in the past?

Performances of Nigerian athletes in international sporting events have shown the consciousness of previous administrations in building a formidable sporting sector for the state. At the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, Nigeria won 3 gold medals for soccer, long jump and 4x400m respectively. The Nigerian team also recorded remarkable success at the 2013 Africa’s Cup of Nations by emerging the best nation in Africa. Amongst all odds, it has never been recorded that Nigerian athletes sought for fund from the public, in other to represent the nation. Unfortunately, this is the ordeal Nigerian athletes are facing.

With high hopes, it is believed that this present administration will do the needful to reward the athletes for their selfless service to the country. This will indeed save Nigeria’s drowning international image.





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