From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
No fewer than 347 athletes from 12 countries will compete in the weeklong Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) Sahel Military Games first edition slated to hold between October 9 to 17 in Abuja.
Tournament director, Brigadier General Maikano Abdullahi, who made the disclosure during a parley with newsmen in Abuja last weekend, further revealed that the participants will compete in three events, comprising football, marathon and golf.
While emphasizing that there is no price money attached to the tournament, Brid-Gen Abdullahi listed the Sahel countries as Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Libya.
“We are here this evening to wrap up our inspection of the facilities for the forthcoming CDS OSMA first Sahel Military Games slated for October 9 to 17. We have seen the football field where the football event would take place in Aguiyi Ironsi Cantonment and the route where the marathoners are going to run from Dede in Zuba to Aguiyi Ironsi Cantonment finishing ground.
“We are now in TY Buratai Golf Course where the golf event will take place. Eight countries are going to participate in golf while 12 countries are participating in football and marathon events. The aims and objectives of the championship is to unite the Armed Forces of the Sahel Region and our brothers in Africa.
“You know, fighting is won by many means and sports is one of them. Sport is one of the non-kinetic activities that can mellow down the temple of war. So, this is the end of our inspection and as you can see from behind, we have many partners and sponsors.
“The Grand Patron of this games and organisation is the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and other service chiefs are in support and also part of the sponsors.
“We also have many ministries that are part of our sponsors and individual companies and state governors. The governor of Nasarawa State is our partner and ambassador, we have minister of science and technology as the patron of the games and sponsor, minister of special duty and intergovernmental affairs who is also the patron of OSMA and one of the sponsors, we have African Children Talents Discovery Foundation (ACTDF) and many others,” he said.
Giving more information about the games, he said: “We are in top gear of our preparation. 12 countries are participating in this Championships but the Sahel countries that are participating are Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Libya.
“These are the Sahel countries that are mostly affected by the so-called Jihadis and Boko Haram that are fomenting problem in our region and we want to send a message to the world that we are together in one course.
“So, the Armed Forces of the Sahel Region would come together and play in one harmonious goal for the common good of all. That is one objective of our organisation, it was formed just after the second world war to bring Armed Forces of the World together.
“So, we are left behind, we are also bringing Armed Forces of the Sahel Region together to the world to see that we can work together, we are brothers and partners. That is how peace goes on and starts.
“It is our tradition in the international military sports council that we compete without a fixed prize. Our prize is participation, coming together, sending the message of peace and solidarity.
“347 athletes that will be coming for the Games 42.195 kilometers marathon race that soldiers and officers are going to participate in to show their strength, stamina and their work out. The championship would hold in strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols,” he assured.