Okagbare berates AFN over recruitment of foreign athletes
It is not true, says Technical Director
A vote of no confidence may have been passed on the leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) if declaration yesterday by reigning Africa queen of the tracks, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, are anything to go by.
Okagbare, who propelled the Nigerian women 4x200m relay team, including Regina George, Dominique Duncan and Christy Udoh, to win gold at the just concluded IAAF World Relays in the Caribbean Island country, Bahamas, alleged yesterday that the AFN was killing the nation’s athletics.
“For those hoping for a change in Nigeria track and field should not just wait, but also pray,” Okagbare said in a message yesterday.
“Honestly, I have been so calm about these people killing our grassroots section/home based athletes with their recruiting of athletes from other countries instead of building the great talents that we have. What a show of shame the administration has become,” Okagbare said.
The quartet ran a world leading time of 1:30.52s to pick the gold medal, after poor baton exchange stopped Team USA in that race.
But Okagbare lamented yesterday saying: “They (AFN officials) sit down, criticize the athletes back home that they are not improving or doing enough to be at the top. Yet, they don’t do anything to support them. They rate their recruits above the great talent that Nigeria have, paying money and rent to athletes who did not even shown up at our trials in Nigeria just to look good. Enough is enough with the short cuts to success because our nation and athletes are so better than this,” an angry Okagbare said.
However, the Technical Director of AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, has explained that AFN was forced to make do with athletes from USA and neighbouring countries for the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas due to visa issues and ill-health of some of the home-based athletes.
In a message to The Guardian, Nesiama said: “I am happy for our performance in the Bahamas, though we could have done better. But visa issues and ill health of some of our athletes robbed us again from getting our full strength on ground in the Bahamas.