Nigerian athletics coaches have urged the sports authorities to give them financial muscle in their drive to discover and groom more athletes for the country.
This call was made by the coaches against the background of the submission by Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN tasking them to buckle up and produce more grassroots athletes like was done in the past when Nigerian athletics thrived with a sparkle.
Then coaches like Harrison Momoh, Tobias Igwe, late Samuel Akinyemi and others selflessly produced athletes in their localities and these athletes made a mark in world athletics. Names like Davidson Ezinwa, Mary Onyali, Fatima Yusuf, Olapade Adenike, Seun Ogunkoya passed through these coaches, but the story is different today.
Nigeria has turned to a one-star- athlete nation.
Most coaches have always complained of lack of motivation and finance, hence their seeming lack of desire to knuckle down and do a good job of scouting and grooming young talents.
“If our coaches can be empowered, we will get results.
We have coaches who are ready to work, but if they don’t get funds to develop their programmes, they will not achieve much,” said Nigeria Coaches Association president, Gabriel Okon.
His view was seconded by high jump coach Johnny Igboka who runs an athletics academy in his home town Nimo.