Wrestlers will be Nigeria’s good ambassadors in Congo, says Igali
Four years ago in Maputo, Team Nigeria placed third overall at the end of the 10th All Africa Games behind South Africa and Egypt, even though the country’s traditional area of strength like weightlifting and wrestling were left out by hosts, Mozambique. Team Nigeria also lost ground in table tennis and other combat sports at that edition.
Now, wrestling and weightlifting have been included in Congo Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games and the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali, says Team Nigeria would be the one to beat when hostilities begin from September 4 to 19.
Igali said yesterday that their target was to replicate or surpass the six gold and four bronze medals they won at Algiers 2007.
“A total of 42 wrestlers have been in camp at the High Performance Centre in Abuja for the past five weeks. We had our national trials for the All Africa Games over a week ago. My impression of the wrestlers in camp is that they are about 70 percent ready, which to me, is not bad at this time.
“We have very stiff competition from several African countries, including Egypt, Senegal, Cameroun, South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia. My hope is for our athletes to give a 100 percent effort in Congo. We expect to win about 15 medals. I would have expected our wrestlers to have more matches in build up to the Games, but what we have is what we have. I think they are relatively good. The NSC has been very supportive and morale of the athletes is decent. But it can be better,” Igali said.
Eight years ago in Algeria, Team Nigeria placed fifth overall at the end of the Games, but climbed to third position four years later in Maputo, where the country won 31 gold, 28 silver and 39 bronze medals. Team Nigeria lost the second place to Egypt by just a gold medal.
The National Sports Commission (NSC), under Director General, Alhassan Yakmut, is doing everything possible to surpass that record in Congo 2015, and Igali, who is also the Chairman, Technical Committee of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), says it is a mission possible.