MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24: Loveth Ayila of Nigeria jumps to move the ball past Lina Magull and Felicitas Rauch of Germany during the FIFA Women's U-20 Final at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Despite assurances from the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung over the level of preparation given to athletes that have already qualified to be at this year’s Olympic game, Nigerian Athletic coach, Seigha Porbeni has predicted that team Nigeria is bound to fail if nothing was done to improve their training programe.
Porbeni who recently called it quit at Port harcourt camp where local Athletes are currently camping accused federal government and Athletics federation for only making empty promises as regards preparing athletes early enough.
According to him; “There is always the talk about early camping for Nigerian athletes after a major event, but our people always have this ‘bad habit’ of waiting for a few months before waking up from their slumber. That usual fire brigade attitude has not done us any favour in the past and I see disaster awaiting us in Rio Olympics.”
On why he dumped athletes camp, experienced Porbeni informed Nigerian Pilot Sports via telephone “I decided to quit the camp because things are falling apart and I can no longer bear it. This is our fifth month in the camp in Port Harcourt and there has been nothing like camp allowance paid to us.
“This camp has athletes for the Rio Olympics and Poland 2016 like Divine Oduduru (100m, 200, and relay), Oghenefejiro Idamadudu (200m, 400m and 4x400m), Mercy Obong (100m and 200m) and Abolaji Omotayo (100m and 200m),” he said.
“Since 2012 till date, national coaches have been working like elephants but we feed and leave like ants. We took the junior athletes to the world championship in Ukraine and only $300 was given to each coach.
“In 2014 at the African Athletics Championship in Morocco we were paid $2,000 after several months on arrival in Nigeria, but ‘our foreign coach,’ America’s Maurice Green was paid $30,000 for being with us for less than a month.
“In 2015, we took the national Junior Athletes to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the African Athletics Championship and it was the same old story. In that same year after preparing the junior team for Colombia, the trip was finally cancelled after three months of training in camp. It was Prof. Ken that loaned the AFN N200, 000 to decamp both athletes and coaches. No camp allowance had been paid since then.”
He further disclosed “I led a national team of four coaches to Samoa for the Youth Commonwealth Games last year and the team of just 13 athletes won 11 gold medals. We were shortchanged N180, 000 each till date, and never received a presidential handshake. In that competition, we had to convert a boxer to a sprinter for one of the relay events and we won a medal. Nobody is asking how we did it in Samoa.
“We have been in camp in the High Performance Center in Uniport since November 2015 without a dime and no provisions. No money to buy water and fruits for the athletes.
“Despite all these stress, I have been told that the AFN President, Solomon Ogba, wants to bring a foreign coach to handle our relay teams for a whopping sum of $25,000. No local athlete that participated in the last World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA was paid allowances. As a matter of fact, their bags were thrown out of their hotel rooms in USA. Their US-based counterparts were fully paid.
“Also, Nigerian athletes who participated in all the Golden Leagues, Warri Relays/Grand Prix have not been paid their prizes and allowances. Are we truly Nigerians? Are we running a federation or dictatorship? Do we need an American to go to China to purchase our Olympic wears? Must we be foreign to be the best? If that is the case, then we also need a foreign minister of sports. There is too much confusion in Nigerian sports with less than four months to the Rio Olympics. Australia is launching their Olympics wears, yet Nigeria has no team in camp. It calls for urgent attention.”

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