Paucity of funds threatens Nigeria’s African Youth Athletics title defence
Officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) say the country may not defend its African Youth Championship title in Mauritius this week because the federation has no money to send its team to the competition.
Team Nigeria won the maiden edition in Warri two years ago with 13 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals, leaving Egypt Kenya and Ethiopian to settle for the second, third and fourth positions respectively.
The AFN completed the selection trials to pick the country’s representatives at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos last week and the athletes and their coaches were expected to go into camping immediately but that has not happened due to lack of money.
AFN sources revealed at the weekend that all efforts to get the National Sports Commission (NSC) to release the approved money for the trip have proved abortive.
“As I speak with you now, we don’t even know what has happened to the file for the trip at the NSC. All that we have heard is that there is no money. You can imagine that Nigeria as defending champion of the African Youth Championship will not be there when the event starts. Is that not an embarrassment for the country,” observed the track & field coach.
Team Nigeria’s contingent was billed to travel out tomorrow to be able to reach Mauritius and loosen up jetlag before the start of competition.
“If the team failed to travel by Tuesday, I cannot guarantee if jetlag will not affect their performance,” reasoned the coach.
All attempts to speak with the AFN scribe, Olumide Bamiduro, failed as he was said to be in Abuja pursuing how to get the needed funds to enable the team travel out.
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