From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Former Super Eagles coordinator, Emmanuel Attah, has attributed the performance of Team Nigeria in the just concluded Commonwealth Games to the pragmatic intervention of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
Attah, in a chat with SportingSun in Abuja, maintained that such programmes as adopt an athlete initiative launched in 2019 and prompt release of training grants to the athletes worked the wonders.
“I have taken time to read and have a proper grasp of the backroom job responsible for the astonishing achievement of our Athletes.
“You can never take away the efforts of Sunday Dare from this glorious outing. He was very intentional and put in the work that produced the awe-inspiring results we are all celebrating today,” he noted.
Breaking down the factors that made the outing very victorious, Attah said: “Adopt an athlete initiative launched in December 2019 at the Lagos Civic Centre. 38 athletes in total are beneficiaries of the Adopt-An-Athlete initiative. Before this launch, consultations with athletes and federations nationwide were carried out to find the root cause of the challenges athletes faced which impeded their performances at the regional and world stages.”
“Unavailability of funding/grants, unavailability of scholarships, inadequate support amongst other challenges were established. A lot of them didn’t have enough income to survive. They spent a lot of time trying to earn a living rather than spend time to further develop their skills. Giving them financial support would make a difference. Their profile spoke for them and made them marketable.
“Once the initiative kicked off, some home-based athletes now gets as much as $10,000 paid directly into their accounts and managed solely by them. Some use it to pay for their coaches, kits, nutrition, health insurance etc.
“Foreign based athletes now earn $20,000 due to the fact that they definitely have a higher overhead. It is worthy of note that a number of State Governors were very supportive: Delta, Edo, Ogun, Lagos, Bayelsa all embraced this initiative and supported our Athletes.
“Kudos to the Corporate World who also embraced the Athletes. Fidelity, Zenith, UBA, Access Banks all made a difference,” he said.