Rising from a meeting in Ilorin, venue of the on-going National Youth Games, the athletics technical officials expressed anger and disbelieve at the leadership of the AFN for appointing an ‘unqualified person’ as the leader of the engine room of the federation.PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.
Nigerian track and field coaches and technical officials yesterday warned against the alleged plans to impose Sunday Adeleye as the technical director/chairman technical sub-committee of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
Rising from a meeting in Ilorin, venue of the on-going National Youth Games, the athletics technical officials expressed anger and disbelieve at the leadership of the AFN for appointing an ‘unqualified person’ as the leader of the engine room of the federation.
“It is embarrassing and alarming that our federation can deviate from modern norms and practices in the appointment of somebody to lead and guide all qualified Nigerian coaches and technical officials when that person lacks the technical knowhow and the requisite academic qualification to lead us,” the officials wrote in their communiqué.
They added: “Adeleye was appointed as an athletes representative to take charge of the interest of the athletes on the board, while we freely elected Brown Ebewele to be our representative and leader on the board.”
The officials also restated their confidence in Ebewele to guide them through as their elected leader.Meanwhile, president of Nigerian Coaches Association, Gabriel Okon said the position of a technical committee chairman/technical director is for an individual who has a rich background in coaching and officiating matters.
Some of the coaches and technical officials at the meeting were former Nigeria 100m record holder, Seun Ogunkoya, who is a coach in the employment of Ondo State, Hilda Nkwocha from Federal Capital Territory, Adamu Musa Kebbi, Ochoma Ephraim from Enugu State, Awe Adeniyi from Kwara State and former Nigeria javelin champion, Pius Bazighe from Bayelsa State.
Meanwhile, eight members of the 14-member board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) have asked for the postponement of the board meeting scheduled for tomorrow by the president of the federation, Ibrahim Gusau.
They call, they said, is to enable them take proper charge of the athletics event of the on-going National Youth Games, which also begins tomorrow.
The federation’s vice-president, Olamide George in a letter to fellow board members said holding the meeting tomorrow would portray the federation as lacking in respect for the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, organisers of the talent-hunting games.
“I feel we should show our respect to not only the sports ministry but also the teeming youths who we are hoping will graduate to become world class athletes that will win international laurels for Nigeria.
“We all witnessed our medalless return from the last two editions of the IAAF World Championships and the last two Olympic Games. It is an open secret that we need to hunt for talents and we should be grateful the sports ministry has given us a platform to see if there are athletes we can discover and nurture to greatness. The result of the games should even form part of what we should discuss at the board meeting,” George, who is the chairman of Ondo State House of Asembly Youth and Sports Committee, wrote.
Also supporting the call for postponement, Brown Ebewele said, “at the Olympic Games, the IAAF which organises the athletics event of the games, will not call for a council meeting when events are on-going.
“The youth games is like the Olympics and it is the AFN that is saddled with the responsibility of organising the track and field event at these games.
“Even at events owned by the IAAF like the last world championships in London, the council meeting came up before the start of the event, but here the president want us to hold a meeting on the day the track and field event is starting. That cannot work.”