If an appraisal done recently by former Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi is anything to go by, then Team Nigeria’s hope of picking at least a medal when this year’s Olympic Games gets underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil could have been dashed.
The Kwara-born Abdullahi who was on the saddle when Nigeria failed to pick any medal at 2012 London Olympic explained that Africa’s largest Nation was poised to fail again with the level of preparation given so far to the Athletes.
While speaking at a Sports colloquium put together by African Sports Management Association, ASMA in Abuja yesterday where several sports delegates from other parts of Africa gathered, Bolaji who did not hide his feelings disclosed that an average Nigerian athlete is barely abandoned to feed with paltry N500 daily when invited to camp.
When asked if the mistakes made before 2012 Olympics have been possibly corrected, the erstwhile Sports Minister said; “Some of the issues that led to the country’s fantastic failure in Seoul were the same issue that led to fantastic failure in London and I’m telling you that Rio will not be different. Nigerian sports administrator may not like what I just said but that is the truth.
“If we win anything in Rio, it will be a game by chance rather than design. Winning medal is not going to happen unless you work for it and the question is; are we working for it?
“I heard the President said Nigeria team are going to win five gold medals at Rio, well I don’t think we are going to win any gold medal in Rio but I was confident that if we continued with the work that we have started and we did not abort it; I was confident that by Tokyo 2020, Nigeria will be on the medal table but not 2016.
“When country fails at tournament, there will be public outcry, then government and administrators will make panicky vows that never again we will allow this to be happen, then summit will be called; task forces will be set up, report will be written and then we will wait for the next circle to repeat the process and at the end, nothing will happen.
“How could you explain the fact that after waiting 19 years to win the AFCON, we have failed to qualify for subsequent two editions or how could we explain the fact that after waiting for 44 years to win our Olympic gold medals in Football and athletics in 1996, we have not been able to repeat that feat since then. The reality is that even the basic building blocks for sustainable excellent in sport do not exist in our country.”

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