Sports

Senate Committee Chair: FG COULD HAVE DONE BETTER WITH Team Nigeria

…raises the alarm over Super Eagles W’Cup qualifiers

 

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Sports Obinna Ogba has blasted the Federal Government, saying the Presidency is responsible for the poor showing of Team Nigeria at the ongoing Olympics due to its failure to release funds on time for the prosecution of the Games.

 

Ogba said one of the problems facing the development of sports in the country is acute funding and as legislators, his committee has done well to appropriate money for the development of the sector but the government would delay the disbursement of the funds.

 

He said bureaucracy is not only affecting the release of the money for the prosecution of tournaments such as the Olympics even funds meant for athletes’ training are not disbursed on time. “What magic do you expect the athletes to perform at the Olympics when they release the funds

 

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Sports Obinna Ogba has blasted the Federal Government, saying the Presidency is responsible for the poor showing of Team Nigeria at the ongoing Olympics due to its failure to release funds on time for the prosecution of the Games.

 

Ogba said one of the problems facing the development of sports in the country is acute funding and as legislators, his committee has done well to appropriate money for the development of the sector but the government would delay the disbursement of the funds.

 

He said bureaucracy is not only affecting the release of the money for the prosecution of tournaments such as the Olympics even funds meant for athletes’ training are not disbursed on time.

 

“What magic do you expect the athletes to perform at the Olympics when they release the funds  for the prosecution of the Games just one week to the start of the tournament?

 

As a Senate, we always make sure that we appropriate funds for the sector but we realised that the government who is in charge of this money would refuse to release them on time. In some cases, tournaments would have passed before they would release the funds.

 

“Many times, we have spoken to them in the finance ministry and budget office; we have asked them to appear before us all in a bid to make sure we don’t have this kind of problem but we are getting tired of their failure to change their attitude. Sports is a very peculiar sector, if things are not done at the right time, there is no magic you want to perform to get results.

 

Our athletes did not get the right kind of training before they went to the Olympics because money was not there and even the administrators were running everywhere looking for money whereas we have appropriated these funds,” he said.

 

The former member of the Nigeria Football Federation also raised the alarm over the FIFA World Cup qualifying matches involving the Super Eagles, saying the NFF has no money to prosecute the back-to-back matches against Liberia and the Central African Republic in September.

 

Ogba said the NFF is still owing Super Eagles players and coaches their match allowances and bo-nuses because the government always holds on to their money. “Super Eagles will play World Cup qualifiers in less than five weeks and as I am talking to you, the NFF doesn’t have a kobo to prosecute those matches.

 

They have submitted their proposal to the government but money may not be approved on time. I can tell you that the NFF is still owing players bonuses for matches played at the Nations Cup because the government is yet to release the money. We can’t run our sports like this,” he said.

 

However, he believes in the fighting spirit of Nigerian athletes and said they could still turn around the fortune of the country at the Olympics.

 

“Not all our athletes have crashed out; there is still hope that we may not come back empty- handed from the Olympics.

 

I believe we can get something from the track and field and maybe one other sport; let us keep supporting our team,” he said.

 

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