A former President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Dan Ngerem has urged the federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development as well as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to set up a working structure that would support elite athletes like the Nigerian striker.
Ngerem, speaking in the wake of the record-signing of Nigeria international Victor Osimhen by Napoli, said it was about time sporting authorities create a support system that would assist elite athletes according to The Nation
He lamented: “Regrettably, Nigeria does not have a good track record and historical antecedents when it comes to supporting our elite athletes across board.
“We appear to pour encomiums on them when things are going well; and a lot of people and stakeholders often lazily ‘piggyback’ on successes they often had nothing to do with.
“However, as soon as the elite sports personality hits any kind of difficulty either professionally or in his private life; we are often the first to abandon the athlete to their own devices – and the examples of such abandonment and palpable inaction are all over the place- from athletics to wrestling to boxing.”
Speaking further, Ngerem urged the Minister for Ministry of Youth and Sports Development Sunday dare to chart a new pathway for elite athletes in order to inspire upcoming ones.
“I hope and pray that with this excellent move to Napoli (by Osimhen), Nigeria with the new Sports Minister will create a new and sustainable framework and pathway to support our international stars and elite athletes; not to only reach fruition,” he stressed.
“But to also help them optimise their potential; and help to propagate, propel and create veritable vehicle and conveyor of success – not only for themselves but to also create a positive pathway for other elite athletes to follow.