Poor funding threatens Team Nigeria’s Olympics medals hope
Coach of Nigeria Olympic team Samson Siasia has raised alarm over the team’s shoddy preparations for the Rio Olympics, saying “we cannot be going for gold and we are begging for money.”
Siasia noted that poor funding of the sport sector is gradually killing the sector in the country while the various teams that have qualified for the Rio Olympics risk not doing well at the quadrennial sport fiesta.
“We just want to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the rescue of sports in the country as our father and sports-loving President.
“The sports sector is dying and it is adversely affecting the Olympic teams that have qualified to represent Nigeria at the Rio Olympics Games, not just football, but the other (seven) sports that Nigeria will campaign in in Rio.
“The reason is well known which is the sports ministry needs to be funded adequately. This has adversely affected the Nigeria Football Federation too. Everybody is borrowing.
“This has to stop. President Buhari has to help us by approving some funds for our Olympic teams to prepare well. If the funds are not there, how are you going to prepare to win gold?,” Siasia said.
The Dream Team will play two warm-up matches in the USA before they depart to Brazil on July 29 and Siasia says he is not from impressed with his team’s build-up to the games.
“It is not a good image to go to the Olympics while trying to beg for money around, actually begging people for money to take care of the Nigerian Olympic team. How are we going to win gold, if we keep begging for money to take care of our athletes,” lamented Siasia.
“We don’t have money. We are in the (United States of) America now without any money. So, it is a big problem.
“We are without any money in our pocket. There are no funds coming from anywhere. That is not a good thing.
“When you have players who are not motivated and encouraged, but you want them to come and do a miracle. Everybody needs to be encouraged at one time or the other.”
US' Tianna Madison (L), Pinto of Germany (R) and Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare (C) compete in the women's 100m heats at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games