Broke Team Nigeria can’t pay visa fees for athletes
Okagbare, others may miss pre-Olympics Championship in Durban
The ‘poor’ preparation by Team Nigeria for this year’s Rio Olympic Games has taken a new dimension if the revelation by an official of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) yesterday is anything to go by.
Nigerian athletes are expected to jet out to Durban South Africa later this week for the African Senior Athletics Championship. Two years ago in Marrakech, Morocco, the country finished second behind South Africa, but this year, the AFN claims it has the team to reclaim its number one position in African track and field.
However, the trip to Durban may not materialise because, according to one AFN official yesterday, the sports ministry in Abuja has failed to release money for the trip.
“It is so bad now that we can’t even raise money to pay visa fees for the athletes,” the official told The Guardian. “Our preparation for the Olympic Games had never taken this bad shape. Athletics is one of the sports Team Nigeria is hoping to get medals in Rio. We intend to use this trip to Durban to give the athletes the final brush up since there is no money to organise the usual overseas training camp for them. If the athletes failed in Rio, Nigerians should know who to blame because the AFN and the athletes have done their parts. The Presidency has to do something very fast,” the official said.
On Monday, the AFN said Team Nigeria would send a strong team to South Africa with the aim of beating the host and defending champion, South Africa, on home soil.