Except the leadership of the National Sports Commission, NSC responds urgently, high expectations from Nigerian athletes preparing to represent Nigeria in next months’ All Africa Games, AAG could be dashed following repeated outcry oozing from the various camps where the athletes are presently being camped.
Each athlete, no matter their status is entitled to a paltry one thousand naira, N1000 daily, an amount many of them described as grossly inadequate.
As at the last count, no fewer than 750 Nigerian athletes are preparing to feature at the 11th edition of AAG, though not all might be selected after all.
One of them, Ephraim Jimkan who was visibly disgruntled told Nigerian Pilot Sports that the meager amount was far from reality considering the fact that athletes were given two thousand naira, N2000 per day, four years ago.
“Collecting N1000 is discouraging. Even some states give more to their athletes preparing for National Sports Festival not to talk of we preparing to represent the entire country. In our own training, we spent nothing less than eight hours both in the morning and evening.
“The Sports Commission is trying. But all we are saying is in terms of the allowance. They should look into it. This is national camp. This is All Africa Games, it’s not Sports Festival. There is need for the Sports Commission to look at the welfare of the players again. In a big tournament, motivation is everything.
“A popular proverb said, ‘To whom much is given, much is required’. Nigeria needs result and if result must be gotten from the players, you need to make them happy in terms of money. You don’t need to play around the bush and expect a gold medal from the athletes; I don’t know how you expect that to be.
“I’m not saying the Sports commission is not trying at all, I’m only saying they should look into the welfare package again, especially the allowances, that’s all and everything will be fine,” he added.
Another anonymous athlete who has already been selected to be among 21 Wrestlers heading to Brazzaville, venue of the highest continental sporting competition quipped “If there’s a motivational package a thousand or two thousand dollars for gold medal, or even improved allowances, you will get very high performances from the athletes.
“This is one of the motivations that move athletes. They will strive harder to win medals, at least, if for nothing else, the money.”
Also speaking, a foreign-based athlete with Badminton team who chose to lie low wondered: “One thousand naira daily allowance for high professional players in a big tournament like the AAG? It’s not okay at all. For the benefit of the game, it’s good to motivate athletes with good money for them to be able to put their best genuinely.
“Look at the screening going on, some players are going to be decamped, how much is their take home package? How much are they going home with? Maybe, twenty thousand naira transportation? And you say you were in All Africa Games camp? It does not make sense”.
“If it’s for the novice players, you can begin to manage the one thousand naira allowance, but for professionals? No. Some foreign based players here in the camp are already regretting why they should be getting one thousand naira per day in a national assignment because if they are at their base, they know what they gain in a day.
“So for the upcoming players, you can say you want to help them improve their games and even give them exposure, but for professionals, too poor.”

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