Coaches protest alleged shoddy treatment at Presidential reception for athletes
Nigerian coaches, who were at last Thursday’s presentation and awards for Team Nigerian athletes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, have faulted the way they were ignored during the event despite their contributions to the success of athletes at the Games.
According to mainlandmetronews.com.ng, the coaches also faulted the organisers of the presentation ceremony in Abuja for making them stand throughout the ceremony, where President Muhammadu Buhari doled out N200 million to be shared by the athletes and their coaches.
Gold medalists were given N4.5 million each and the two athletes who got national awards of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) were also given houses in Abuja.
The coaches, whose athletes won gold, got N1.5 million, which was another vexing issue for the athletes’ groomers.
“A coach like Kayode Yaya, who has been working with Ese Brume over the years, was present at the hall, but he wasn’t even given a seat, not to talk of giving him and the others a mention.
“All the coaches whose athletes won gold were not recognised,” said one of the coaches in attendance.
“Names of athletes were pasted on seats in the hall and not one coach was given a seat, they were asked to stand at the back.”
Commenting on the issue, Nigeria Track and Field Coaches Association’s Solomon Aliu, said: “It is appalling; this is not the way it is supposed to be.
“People worked to make the athletes succeed. There is a chain… the medics, psychologists, welfare officers and on top the chain is the coach.
“I don’t know why the Ministry downgraded the coaches. In the past, if athletes got N2.5m, coaches got N2m. As much as I applaud the Ministry, they should try and encourage the coaches. That would make them happy to continue doing what they are doing.”
Speaking in the same vein, throws coach, Gabriel Opuana, whose athlete also won gold, said coaches have not been given their due recognition.
“I wasn’t at the awards, but I heard what happened. If it was football, coaches will get equal reward or more, but other sports’ coaches are not treated the same.
“It is not even about the money, but it is good to recognise the coaches and the work they do. President Buhari did not even mention one coach during his speech.
“During the era of Goodluck Jonathan, it was not like this. Coaches made these athletes and it is time the sports ministry woke up to do the needful.
“I think that those who are advising the sports minister are the ones to blame for the shoddy treatment of coaches.”