Coach Purse Tips 2008

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Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: Lessons for Nigeria

The 2008 Olympic Games have come and gone with Nigeria the largest Black nation and giant of Africa returning to Africa the place she rightly belongs with one silver and three bronze medals. Those who refused to blame the country hinge their argument on shabby preparations and arrangements made possible by the authorities responsible, the Federal Ministry of “Football”  


There are no doubts that majority of the Athletes in Beijing, China to represent the country where on-lookers who only were there to observe other prepared Athletes counterparts perform creditably well. Anyone who had followed up arrangements as put together by the Nigerian authorities will have definitely realized that the nation did very little but dabbled into almost all the games available in Beijing. This earned the country the name “Jack of trade, master of none.” For sure, we all counted more on men’s football event to the detriment of other games.


Thanks to Samson Siasia, the Chief Coach of the country’s Dream Team IV who for the second time has written the country’s name on the table of countries with silver medals in men’s football event of the games and thanks to the players too who determinedly performed well not minding the unfavorable environment in the country. After all, we are used to it. Only Nigerians understand themselves.


Someone who saw one of our Boxers thoroughly beaten by a particular Ghanaian Boxer remarked that we needed to face our Kerosene scarcity problem, which will put food on the table of our Boxers. Only a man or woman who does not understand the country’s man made problems living with us will heap blames on our sports men and women who represented us. This brings us to the question of whether there exist sports facilities on the country for Athletes for our sports men and women to train. Everything is simply wrong with our system including sports.


One thing the outside world does not know is that most our representatives financially funded their trainings in bids to represent their fatherland. A very good example is Chika Chukwumerije, who won bronze in Taekwendo, and even defeated the world champion during the event. He reportedly funded his trainings in Asia, Europe and other continents and spent over 25 million Naira. This paid off when he was eventually crowned with Bronze medal in the championship, a testimony that only those who have worked hard will reap the fruits of their labour. Preparations are therefore very vital to sustaining victories in sports and no one can rule out this. Governments must invest monies and other resources in other for interests to accrue to them bountifully.  


The country is notorious for abandoning even those who have won honor for her. Is it necessary to ask here what happened to Chioma Ajunwa, the first Lady to give the country her first individual gold medal ever? Where is Peter Konyegwechie, the silver medalist in Boxing? The general feelings among would-be representatives of the country are that they live but forgotten after glories. Little wonder, many of our Athletes continue to flee to acquire the citizenship of foreign countries to escape what befell those before them. After all, “When the toad in front falls into a pit others behind take caution”


You need not be told again that most of the coaches appointed to take care of the Athletes by the country’s authorities did not have many opportunities to do so as their coaching durations are usually too short. We expect the worse to happen which of –course is “sack.” The axe will dangle again on their heads. Expect it soon. With the human and material resources available to Nigeria in abundance, anyone will have expected our representatives to come home with more medals than what we have now because Nigerians are highly talented.


The country’s Football Authority showed inability to secure the release of Taye Taiwo, Ike Uche and Vincent Enyeama by their respective clubs, a situation that clearly indicates that the Nigerian Football Federation needs to extend its influence beyond the enclave of the Nigerian society. Though the men have performed well to the admiration of all, we still need to do much to make more improvements and not any less.


In one of my visitations to a training ground in Festac, I had observed an Athlete do her personal training, with her legs often stretched by some sports loving people. Upon inquiry from me, I was told that she was one of our Olympic representatives, upon further inquiries on when she was not at the country’s stadium; I was further told that the stadium in Lagos was in neglect. A much-neglected stadium would have been better than FHA playground in Festac town but she just knew better than I did or so I assumed. She too must have been neglected. Training in that local playground and hoping to compete with American, British, Chinese and Russian Athletes must be ineptly.


Asking our authorities questions on why the once National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos has been in neglect will amount to a waste of time as the nation’s media have widely condemned this with little or effort made by the government to make restorations. It is on record that the super Eagles of Nigeria maintained a long stretch record of not having lost in that stadium in much of their numerous matches played in the main bowl of this stadium. Our authorities would prefer playing and doing badly in an obviously less standard Kano stadium, were the Super Eagles performed poorly and ended up losing a ticket to the 2006 world cup Angola. Quota system was it.


The 2008 Olympic Games have come and gone but we must do more on our part to take care of our prized representatives who bring pride and honor to our dear nation. We need to identify the areas we are good like other countries do and concentrate on them rather than delve into every event and come back home with nothing. This will be a useful tip to us particularly if our purse cannot take care of us all even though we tend to ask why this is so with all the high sound of amount of money we hear in this country. Many African countries that returned with gold are not superior to Nigeria neither do they have better talented sportsmen and women than us.


Everyone cries or berates the Nigeria national female team for inability to journey beyond first round each time we face bigger teams from Europe and America but no one remembers that they are hardly made to engage these super countries in friendly matches as preparations to major events.


Nigeria places too much attention on football to the detriment of other sports; no wonder the Minister for Sports in Nigeria is nothing more than a Minister for “Football.” This development is very disturbing to the growth of other sports in the country. Boxing, for instance, which used to be the pride of the nation, is now in utmost neglect and on the verge of extinction. Other kinds of sports are affected too and this situation if not quickly arrested will lead to the “death” of athletics in the country. If you were surprised like me, then you would probably have expressed this when we realized that a Nigerian could favorably compete and return home with medal in the Taekwando event even though the nation’s representative determinedly did so after personal funding and practices. The result of unnecessary emphasis placed on football to the detriment of other sports was the fruit the nation reaped in Beijing, China. Every kind of sports is necessary for each of them will reward a nation with medals.


We need to stand up if we must improve.

About the Author

Emeka Esogbue hails from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. He is a Historian and International Relations graduate with lots of tremendous published and unpublished works.

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