*We shall see the glorious days of our athletics
By Olajide Fashikun
Hon Ibrahim Gusau, the 13th June elected President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) who shall be standing for a re-run on the 20th July, has commended all the athletes, coaches and officials that made the last All Nigeria national trials a success.
Gusau spoke on phone with www.gongnews.net when he said, “the very difficult terrain under which they compete is very much understood. This will change. I must commend their current sacrifices. Insha Allahu, after the re-run of 20th July, all these will change.”
“I followed every inch of the national trial. I am not yet satisfied with the level of the performances but I also appreciate the environment around which we all are operating for now. The glorious days of Nigerian athletics will soon come. We have worked out what we need to deliver.”
“I would have wanted this interview to hold after the re-run but then, I will answer you. With six development centres for athletics in the country before the end of 2018, that is a guarantee that each region of our nation, for the first time since 1945 will be able to tap into their natural strength to develop kids, male and female, able and disabled.
The former House of Representative member added, “for instance, Plateau, Kaduna, Adamawa and Taraba are high altitude regions. Our plan will enable children in those states to be properly exposed to proper training and development, exposure and equitable opportunities to be able to compete against Somalians, Kenyans, Ethiopians etc
“This six development plan will open up greater employment spaces, make modern and most recent technologies available to coaches, make us to give certification to many young and ageing coaches, make insurance cover available to a whole lot of the people in the sport,” Gusau asserted.
“We have made and concluded arrangements with some private sector folks to inject so much financial and other resources into the sport. Our nation can never be the same again by the time we hit the ground running.
“In the next 12 months after our election, I want to count no less than 100,000 new children in athletics as a result of the structures we should have as a family put in place.
With 160 million Nigerians, we have the population to make our nation the biggest market for sponsors, sports manufacturers, brand organisations, advertisers etc If we put in half of the plans we have already scheduled and run it as a business, then, Nigeria will soon return to its global leadership position, not only in Africa but also in the world
According to Gusau, “athletics is a massive sport. We have as a nation not employed the opportunities the sport can offer us. That is part of the experience and understanding I want to bring on board after the 20th July election.”