Coaches Lament on Impact of AFN Conflict

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Some athletics coaches have expressed worry that conflict in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), if not resolved fast, might affect Nigeria’s preparation for and participation in the Tokyo 2020.

Some of the coaches, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said that parties involved in the conflict should consider the interests of the nation and the athletes.

Coach Osagie Ikhaobomeh appealed that the conflict rocking the federation should be resolved fast to ensure Nigeria would do its best at the Olympics.

Ikhaobomeh urged those involved in the conflict to dialogue and resolve issues in the best interest of the nation.

The coach said that quick resolution of the conflict would encourage athletes to put in their best in preparation and participation .

According to him, concflicts will not encourage sports development.

“The crisis in AFN can affect Nigeria’s preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“If truly money was released but not given to athletes, it will affect the psyche of the athletes and their preparation for the Olympics,” he said.

“What some of our athletes experienced at the All African Games hosted by Nigeria in 2003, killed their passion for running for the nation

“The issue has always been the welfare of the athletes,” Ikhaobomeh said.

He, however, commended the AFN Board for good performance.

“The current board, for me, scores 55 per cent performance in 2019, though lack of funds affected Nigeria’s performance in major international events.

“There is need for the board to put its house in order to do more,” the coach said.

Coach Tunde Suleiman told NAN that AFN experiencing a conflict few months to Olympics would do harm for the nation’s participation in the Olympics.

Suleiman called on the board to resolve the conflict fast.

“I believe this is a needless crisis in AFN; they just need to drop ego and work together, it is a collective thing, everyone is important.

“In the interest of coaches and athletes, we all need to move on and think of how our performance in Tokyo 2020 will be better than those in previous Olympics.

“That is my opinion; when most countries’ preparations are at the peak for the games, we are here fighting one another and forgeting the interest of the nation and the athletes,” he said.

NAN reports that two factions are laying claim to the leadership of AFN.

One group is led by Ibrahim Gusau, while the other group is led by Olamide Gorge.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games will start from July 24 and end on Aug. 9 in Tokyo.