The Guild of Nigerian Sports Editors has described as unfortunate the country’s poor performance at the just concluded Rio 2016 Olympic Games, saying it showed that the country learnt nothing from the woeful outing at the London 2012 edition of the Games.
Nigeria could only win a bronze medal at the Rio Games, where such African countries as Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt and Botswana registered multiple honours.
In a communiqué yesterday signed by the Guild’s President, Tony Ubani, the body described as unacceptable the country’s continued failure to harness its
enormous human and material resources to stand among the best in the international community, arguing that Nigeria should be among the leaders in such events as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and football's World Cup.
“It is unfortunate that a country with a rich pedigree in sports has fallen so low that we struggle to tag along less endowed countries in world meets," the body said.
“This is a country that produced such great athletes as Chidi Imoh, Innocent Egbunike, Falilat Ogunkoya, Charlton Ehizuelen, Bruce Ijirigho, Mary Onyali, Fatima Yusuf, Olopade Adeniken and the Ezinwa brothers, to mention but a few. These are athletes that were consistently among the top three finishers in
their various events in our recent history.
“Sadly, Nigeria no longer qualifies for the finals of major events. How did we sink so low?”
It recalled the intervention programme set up after the London 2012 debacle by immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, which was supposed to correct the anomalies in Nigerian sports, arguing that the cure for the country’s sports malaise resides in the grassroots.
“We must as a matter of urgency go back to the schools because that is where the talents are.
“All the stakeholders from the Federal Government to the local councils must rise up to the challenge of rebuilding Nigerian sports,” it added.
The Guild also tasked the Federal Government not to pay lip service to sports by way of releasing funds late and also not to use sports as a sacrificial lamb
in satisfying party faithful by appointing greenhorns as Sports Minister.