By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Sport Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), FCT Chapter, has appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to fast track the release of money for Nigeria’s athlete preparations toward the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as they are capable of winning medals, if they are given the right incentives, including integrated local and foreign training tours.
The appealed was contained in a communiqué issued by the FCT chapter on Friday in Abuja at the end of its 2016 first congress, aimed at evaluating the state of sports management in the country.
The Association also appealed to the president to beam his anti-corruption searchlight on the sports sector by investigating how the N2.7 billion funds disbursed for the 11th All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville and the preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games were expended.
They also challenged the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, to present and implement his blueprint for sports development publicly instead of “grandstanding and gallivanting all over the world’’.
The sports writing body pointed out that government should have leveraged on the success of Team Nigeria, which was a deliberate, corporate-driven initiative, geared towards generating funds for sports; adding that, the sporting body should also ensured that, the money released was used in funding local and foreign training tours for athletes ahead of major international sporting events.
They noted that, “government should explore alternative means, including the National Lottery Funds and Sports Development Funds to finance sports and augment its budgetary allocations. Government should also consider making tax concessions and other generous rebate to corporations which sponsor sports.’’
“The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should be lauded for contracting Samson Siasia as the Super Eagles stand in coach for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures against Egypt, in the wake of the uncertainty that followed the resignation of Sunday Oliseh. Congress deemed this as a move that will repose confidence and trust in indigenous coaches.”
It however flayed the lack of continuity in sports administration and proposed that individuals with prerequisite skills and knowledge be appointed and elected into strategic sports positions.
FCT SWAN further said NFF’s recent move to stop paying match bonuses to all national age-grade teams should be condemned in the strongest term, as it is capable of discouraging players from giving in their best.