Passion will give us edge over Tunisia, says Igali
Following last month’s inspection of facilities in Port Harcourt by the President of United World Wrestling – Africa (UWWA), Fouad Meskout, in an effort to decide hosts of next year’s Senior Africa Wrestling Championships, President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali, has assured that the nation would get the nod over Tunisia.
Meskout was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to inspect facilities for the championships offered by the NWF, with the support of the Rivers State government. The UWWA boss also paid a courtesy visit to the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, Governor Nyesom Wike, and Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) President, Habu Gumel.
Speaking with The Guardian, Igali said the fact that Nigeria is making itself available to host the championships for the first time, coupled with the passion shown in the game by athletes, may give Nigeria an edge over Tunisia.
“Tunisia has hosted the African championships a couple of times in the past four years. However, I believe the city of Port Harcourt has a very good chance to be awarded the hosting right for the Senior, Junior and Cadet African Wrestling Championships.
“We have good facilities, which the African body came to scrutinise and the passion, which the sport has generated among our athletes, should give us a good stand. Hosting the championships will be the best thing to happen to us as a federation. I believe the championship on its own should attract sponsors, as over 40 countries from the continent will grace the event,” he said.
Igali, who is also the chairman, Technical and Development Commission of the NOC, while speaking on the benefits, said: “We will need to upgrade the facilities at the Civic Centre in Port Harcourt, install a sauna and procure a lot of competition-specific equipment, which will help the federation even after the tournament is over.
“This will also help us to source for talents to fill the mandatory nine national teams that will represent Nigeria at the competition for the cadet style, which we will need the female, Greco Roman and freestyle categories, just as we will need same for the junior and senior categories.
“The implication of this is that we will need the services of a minimum of 30 coaches. Beginning from August 18th, we will need to start aggressive talent-hunt programme nationwide. Coaches and technical officials will be forced to dig deep to scout for talents to ensure that we have full weight classes in all nine national teams,” he stated.