2014 Commonwealth Games:Paucity of funds threatens AFN’s preparation

Youth Minister Bolaji AbdullahiBy Raphael Ekpang

Navy Commodore, Omatseye Nesiama, the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) said on Wednesday that paucity of fund is likely to derail the federation’s preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Nesiama, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said the federation was now bankrupt to continue with its preparation for the Games scheduled to begin in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23.

He said that the commencement of the next phase of camping for international competitions after it broke-off its conditioning camp for athletes on Jan. 31 in Abuja would depend on the availability of funds.

According to him, “The only thing that is actually affecting us is funds because to keep the athletes in camp, you need funds and the funds that we got was just enough for the conditioning period. Now that we are going into specifics, I have discussed with the performance director and national performance director.”

He further explained that the National Sports Commission (NSC) is also involved. “I have discussed with the Director General and the Minister of sports. They are willing to support us further; that is been worked out right now. “So, once that is done and the budget is approved they (athletes) will be admitted into the performance system and from there the performance system will take care of them (athletes),” he said. He continues, “At least once that is done, I think, they (athletes) will come back to camp,’’

Nesiama also said that funds were also needed to camp athletes for the Africa Youth Games scheduled to take place in Gaborone, Botswana between May 22 and May 31.
He noted that athletes for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Indoor Championships scheduled for Sopot, Poland between March 7 and March 9 would be carefully selected.
“For you to qualify for the youth games, you have to be born in 1997 and 1998. Anybody before then will be disqualified because they have graduated to the junior. The ones we discovered during the national youth games we have put the list together and we are going to invite them to camp very soon.

He assured that the multi-million naira NSC High Performance centre located at the package `B’ of the Abuja National stadium would be put to use by the end of this month.
He added that the third phase of the conditioning camp would commence after the AFN’s “All-Comers Over-distance and Distance Relays,’’ if the funds were available.

The competition is scheduled to take place between Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 in Sagamu, Ogun-State.

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