Sunday, January 27, 2013

For Egbunike, I dey laugh. Where lies our athletics future?

Sports Minister, Abdullahi...right in this matter but

Sports minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, was quoted to have disclosed that Innocent Egbunike has no valid contract with the NSC or the AFN to coach Nigerian athletes.
True. Good outcome. Some of us fought for our brother, Egbunike to be appointed as the national coach for Athletics. When he was approached for the job, we asked, give him a four year tenure. Surely, I also remembered that I said it clearly that, a short crash programme for the Olympics won’t work.
He was lured in. He was told to take the task and deliver and that the contract issue will be sorted out. It was like he lobbied for the job the way and manner he rushed in. I remembered I insisted that he must get the contract papers signed, sealed and delivered.
Read the minister’s words again. He has no contract. He has been used, paid off and that is it.
A colleague said in reaction: “it seems Egbunike, who still holds the national 400m record for 25 years running, will have to wait until 2016, perhaps he would be called upon to do a rush job just like he did at the last London 2012 Olympics. He was brought in with only four months to the Games and the result was clearly seen on the medals table.”
Reading through the minister’s speech, he added, “I haven’t seen a contract that says he is the head coach of the AFN”. Very correct.
“He came purposely for the London 2012 Olympics and we only helped with his entitlements for that period. However, he did a good job, if there is anyway we can retain him, we will do so,” said Mr. Abdullahi. Uhm! What a way to tell a workman goodbye.
I am sure the former African 400m champion, had been waiting for the green light from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) or and the National Sports Commission (NSC) to put his thoughts of revival into play.
The irony is this, Egbunike remains one of the few trained and qualified Athletics coaches in the country. There are just very few of them. Not the charlatans that the AFN claims and is forcibly trying to train as ‘coaches’ many of which are drop outs and drug couriers.
Desperacy ran Egbunike into the ditch. Now, I do not have sympathy for him and neither will any reasonable Nigerian have sympathy for him because he forsook his house and packed into another person’s house when it matter most. He’s thrown away and his empty abandoned house is not happy to welcome him back. Welcome to the feral hands of cold.
Is anyone bothered and asking questions of how do we revive the crashed fortunes of the country in Athletics? Or are we hanging our nation’s athletics fate in the hands of ‘coaches’ who tell young girls that ‘if I have sex with you, you will be a world beater’ and for the girl to say, ‘I am a good Muslim, I say no’, she was called names publicly and verbally attacked, dropped. She improved and was shunned for the ill fated World junior. Please sing the ‘nunc dimitis’ while we siddon look.

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