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Nigerian athletes may appear in different colours, as sports ministry monetises kits with N20,000

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Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor is one of the athletes expected to fight for Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Games in Morocco.

Team Nigeria may be heading to the 2019 African Games with athletes appearing in different kits if reports from the camp in Abuja are anything to go by.

Nigeria will be competing for honours in 23 events at the Games holding in Morocco from August 19 to 31.

At the 2015 edition held in Congo Brazzaville, Team Nigeria featured in 21 events and finished second with 47 gold, 55 silver and 42 bronze medals behind Egypt, which had 85 gold, 64 silver and 65 bronze medals.

This time, Team Nigeria will compete in more events with the hope of claiming more medals to remain among the top rated nations.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that the sports ministry, in its bid to ‘cut down expenses,’ decided to monetise kits for athletes and coaches, who will feature in track and field events at the Games.

A source hinted yesterday that each athlete got N20,000 cash from the sports ministry to purchase kits of their choice.

“I have never seen such a situation before where athletes are told to buy their kits,” the source said. “What it means is that our athletes may appear in different kits at the Games. The sports ministry has given each athlete N20, 000 to buy kits. The coaches also got the same amount.”

However, an official in the sports ministry explained yesterday that the decision to give out money was at the request of the athletes.

“Those competing in athletics events have their special kits and spike shoes. They asked for money to buy the kits on their own, and Permanent Secretary simply did because he does not want a situation where the athletes will come back to complain about the kits. It does not apply to other sports like boxing, weightlifting, gymnastics, handball, karate, shooting, swimming, basketball, handball and taekwondo. We have ceremonial dress for all members of the contingent,” the official said.


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