The Coordinator of Team Nigeria’s track and field team at the 19th African Athletics Championships, Marrakech 2014, Yussuf Alli, is double sure that Nigeria will successfully defend the title it won two years ago.
The Championships begin on Sunday.
Speaking at the team’s hotel, Golden Tulip, Rawabi, Morocco after the athletes’ training session, a confident Alli said, ”After studying the entries and looking at our strength and those of our competitors, I can confidently tell you that we will win this championships with about eleven or twelve gold medals.”
Alli dismissed fears that intense competition for medals at the just concluded Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the weather in Morocco, which is very hot compared to Glasgow’s cold, rainy and windy weather, would affect the athletes,
”I don’t think so. I have been there before and I have done it at this level. The weather will not affect us. This is our weather, and our success in Glasgow will serve as a morale booster for these Championships. We must not forget that the African Championships is a step down compared to the Commonwealth Games,” said Alli, winner of the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the long jump in 1990.
The national record holder in the long jump expects Team Nigeria to dominate in the sprints, hurdles, quatermile, relays and the jumps.
”Our athletes are highly motivated, we are ready to go. There are no injuries and the athletes are well behaved. With respect to our co-competitors, I can confidently say this is our championship. I know South Africa is here with a strong team, ditto Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, and even host Morocco since these championships also serve as a qualifier for the IAAF Athletics World Cup slated for this same city and stadium next month. But I am confident we will overcome all the oppositions to be crowned the champion of Africa again,” he said.
Alli thanked the National Sports Commission, NSC, for their support for athletes.