Athletics Federation of Nigeria President, Chief Solomon Ogba, was a guest of the Super Eagles technical crew on Wednesday night, during which he canvassed more support for the national teams, football in particular and sports in general.
Ogba, was accompanied in his brief visit by Olympics 400m relay gold medallist, Enefiok Udobong, former 100m sprinter and now coach with the AFN, Gabriel Okon and AFN Scribe, Mrs Maria Wophill.
In a boisterous interaction with the coaching crew led by Stephen Keshi, with Dan ‘The Bull’ Amokachi, Hyoudonou Valere and Coach Ike Shorunmi listening, Ogba said he feels that football and indeed sports in the country was grossly underfunded, hence the recent issue of bonus row in the national team.
He declared that one way by which this could be redressed is to ask all major multinationals to take charge of particular sports, while government will net their expenses off through tax holidays.
“The Federal government can say for instance that the NNPC should take charge of the sponsorship of football in the country, MTN can be directed to sponsor athletics, Glo can handle the league as they are already doing, NestlePlc, basketball and so on. With that we will have more accountability and government will be relieved of the burden of sports sponsorship and we will make the
suggestions to the appropriate quarters”, he quipped.
Keshi who responded on behalf of his technical crew, agreed with the submission of Ogba, and urged sports administrators to stop seeing the athlete and coaches as being in competition with them.
“The athletes fights hard for their income because their business is time limited and they must ensure that their future is a bit assured before they quit the scene, hence we see clashes between interest groups in sports often”.