Nigeria already late for Rio 2016 Olympics — Sports DG

 Nigeria is already late in beginning its preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be hosted by Brazil, an official of the National Sports Commission (NSC) has said.

Patrick Ekeji, the NSC Director-General, said this at a reception hosted by Dr Dalhatu Tafida, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, on Saturday in London.

The reception was in honour of the Nigerian Paralympians at the London 2012 Paralympic Games which ends on Sunday.

“We have already started out late in the preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics,’’ Ekeji said

Ekeji however appealed to the federal government to use the negatives of the current situation to achieve the positive and turn around the sports sector for good.

“We should use the disappointment of the able-bodied athletes at the Olympic Games and the success of the physically-challenged athletes at the Paralympics to transform the sports sector.

“Yes, the able-bodied Olympians must have disappointed the nation, but the physically-challenged Paralympians have made us proud.

“But right now we need the political will to develop and transform sports. Winning medals these days at international meets has become more challenging with the emerging technological innovations,’’ he said.

Ekeji who expressed concern over the obsolete training facilities the physically-challenged athletes were saddled with called for a total overhaul of the current facilities

He commended the Nigerian Paralympians for doing the nation proud and for their “highest sense of dedication and patriotism.’’

Tafida in his remarks said the Paralympians’ performance was commendable and was worth emulating

“The uniqueness of the London Games lies in the fact that the Paralympians broke four world records when compared to the poor performance of our able-bodied athletes at the just-concluded Olympics,’’ the envoy said.

He noted that the Paralympians had always showed commitment and dedication and had never disappointed the nation at any of their competitions outside and within the shores of the country.

“This feat is not only worth of celebrating but also serves as a lesson for us to look beyond their disabilities,’’ the envoy added.

Ms Gloria Anozie, a gold medallist in the women’s +82.50 kg category of powerlifting suggested that government must show commitment in the development of the special sports.

“We have never disappointed Nigeria in any of our outings. It is time government stopped paying lip service to the welfare of those with disabilities and treat us as equals with our able-bodied counterparts,’’ she said.

Four of the Paralympians who broke world records in powerlifting are Esther Onyema, Joy Oyelapo, Yakubu Adesokan and Shade Ayo.

I will quit if Eagles fail – Steven Keshi

Shortly after the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Super Eagles’ camp in Abuja, ahead of their qualifying game against Liberia, the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, has said he will quit his job if he fails to qualify the country to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

It will be recalled the Eagles failed to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup and coach Samson Siasia was sacked as a result when he failed to resign. However, Keshi has vowed he will not be asked to go should his team again fail at the last hurdle to reach the Nations Cup tournament proper. According to him, “If I fail, I won’t wait to be asked to go. I will throw in the towel and move on.

“But God forbid that we get to a stage where we do not qualify. My boys are focussed and I am sure they also want to be in South Africa after they failed to get to the last competition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea… But football can be unpredictable and that is why we have to redouble our efforts to ensure we qualify.”

Portsmouth to punish Kanu for his absence in club

Portsmouth is considering punishing former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu for his continued absence from club activities while he stays in Nigeria.

The veteran striker missed training for a second day on Tuesday as his teammates took part in a double session at Fratton Park.

The reason for Kanu’s action is yet unclear to the club which he led to an FA Cup victory in 2008.

Administrator Trevor Birch said, “Kanu is back in Nigeria, that is the understanding from his legal adviser, who I have been speaking to. I don’t actually know why he hasn’t come back. You will have to phone him and ask him.

“What I do know, though, is we have not reached a compromise and he was due back on Monday along with the rest of the contracted players. Then he just didn’t turn up.

“Kanu must turn up for training, or this is a breach of contract.

“Whether it is sufficient enough to terminate his contract I don’t know at this stage, we will have to wait and see.

“He will have to be disciplined, though. What we intend to do is an internal matter. I cannot talk about that.

“However, if it is a continued absence we will have to bring in the PFA.”