By Bassey Inyang
The chairman of the Cross River State Sports Commission, Mr. Orok Duke, has lamented what he described as Nigeria’s loss of at least 24 athletes to the United States of America (USA) and the oil-rich gulf nation, Bahrain, in the last three months.
Duke, who made the disclosure while speaking with journalists in Calabar on Monday, said the athletes were discovered and groomed by Cross River State under the comprehensive sports development programme initiated by the administration of former governor Liyel Imoke.
“Of course, you know Liyel was paying $1.2 million to a consultant to groom athletes. To be fair to the man, he groomed athletes. But 17 of them have been sold to the United States collages, and 7 just left to Bahrain and have become Bahrainis. So, as we speak, all those athletes that won things in the past years, none of them is in Nigeria,” Duke said.
Duke who disclosed that most of those who have dumped the country are track and field athletes, and basketballers, gave indication that the athletes have literally ditched Nigeria in search of greener pastures abroad.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that the neither the state nor Nigeria was getting anything in return from the athletes because the proper things were not done in terms of monitoring the progress of the athletes.
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