The National Sports Commission (NSC) has given the various sports federations in the country a two-week ultimatum to submit their programme and target for the 2016 Olympics or get blacklisted.
Bolaji Abdullahi, Chairman of the NSC and Minister of Sports, gave the directive on Sunday in Abuja at a meeting with the sports’ federations’ presidents and secretaries.
He said the federations must hit the ground running as he would set up a committee that would monitor their programmes and target for the next four years.
The NSC chairman vowed that any federation that did not meet its target would not be favoured in terms of planning and implementation for the 2016 Olympics scheduled for Brazil.
The development followed President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive for a re-organisation after Team Nigeria’s disgraceful outing at the London Olympics.
Reacting to the directive. Jonathan Nnaji, President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), said the timing of the preparation is good but expressed worry over poor funding and lack of facilities.
“Give NSC and the federations the required funding; put them in a challenge and if they don’t give you result in four years time, then you can crucify anybody heading the place,” Mr. Nnaji said.
According to Mr. Nnaji, “We have a minister who is intelligent and knows what to do, but he wants to know some of the problems from the federations”.
Patrick Uwagbale, Secretary General of Nigeria Amateur Boxing Federation, said the body has drawn up a programme tagged “The Road Map to Rio 2016”.
He said the boxing federation would be ready to submit the programme to the minister in two week’s time.
“Thank God that the honourable minister has just summoned us and we have talked with him; he now knows our position.
“We have been given an assignment to go back and articulate these things in writing. One of the things we will do is to talk about technicalities.
“During our last preparation, a foreign coach (a Briton) was involved to help us shape our techniques; all these ones paid off.
Mr. Uwagbale held that though it seems that 2016 seems like a long time, it really is a short time to start preparations.
“We are going to put all these things together to make sure no mistake is made to make sure we achieve our projections,” Mr. Uwagbale said.
Also speaking, Navy Capt. Omatseye Nesiama, Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said that a programme known as “Project Rio 2016” has been designed to change the fortunes of athletics in the country.
He said the programme conceived in London after Team Nigeria’s poor show at the Olympics would come in two phases.
“That project is going to involve coaches from the grassroots. It is going to be focused on developmental and performance aspect; we don’t want to mix up this two.
“If you want to achieve podium performance, there are certain things you need to do and if you want to develop, there are certain things you need to do.
“In the developmental aspect, we will take cognizance of our junior and youth athletes because they are the ones we are going to develop into the elite category.
“For the athletes already in the elite level, we are now going to focus on the performance aspect.
“These are the two programmes we are coming up with and Project Rio is going to take care of it,” Mr. Nesiama explained.