Poor fund­ing threat­ens Team Nige­ria’s Olympics medals hope

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

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

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