The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has applauded Team Nigeria for its achievement at the just concluded 12th African Games in Morocco, inspite of the not too-perfect preparations prior to the championship.
In a statement issued in Abuja, SWAN commended the Team for finishing second on the medals table with 127 medals comprising 46 gold, 33 silver and 48 bronze medals.
The statement reads, “The outstanding and befitting outing of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Morrocco, is a thing of pride for all Nigerians. Indeed, such performance has taken some time in coming.
“With that said, no one can deny the doggedness and commitment of our athletes, federation presidents and Nigeria’s sports media, as reflected by the final medals table. This is a huge plus for the Ministry of Youth and Sports and most especially, the immediate past Minister, Hon Solomon Dalung, under whom the planning were undertaken.
“It is also a befitting way to welcome the present Minister, Hon Sunday Dare, who we expect to surpass this incredible landmark left by Dalung, which is arguably Nigeria’s best outing in recent times.
“While SWAN also congratulates the Federal Government under President Buhari for providing the needed funds, we urge the Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare to ensure that Nigerian athletes are given necessary trainings to enable them consolidate on the successes attained in Morocco.
“There is no gainsaying that the bedrock of every nation’s success in sports is the grassroots, therefore efforts must be made to ensure that hidden talents are identified, harnessed and nurtured for podium finish.
“We particularly, urge the Minister to build on, and ensure consistency in the staging of the rejuvenated National Sports Festival (NSF), National Youth Games (NYG) and other talent hunting flagship programmes of the Ministry.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Dev’t should equally ensure that Nigeria takes full advantage of sporting events, where she has comparative advantage, so as to remain a powerhouse in those sports, while paying attention to others where we can still excel in future.
“It is a well known fact that sports if properly nurtured, has the potential to not only serve to entertain people but equally become a huge industry that can gainfully engage millions of Nigerian youths.
“It is imperative to emphasize that, the media play a critical role in sports development; and so, we are particularly not pleased with the way sports journalists were treated, by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development pre and during the just concluded African Games, even though, our members remained resolute in their commitment to putting Nigeria first.
“We are, however, optimistic that the Minister, Hon. Sunday Dare, will address this development and other concerns ahead of subsequent major sports engagements, in view of his background and our conviction that he understands the benefits that would accrue from the functionality of the Sports development tripod of administration, participation and promotion.
“We expect that the athletes and officials will be celebrated in order to, not only fertilise greater commitment, but serve as deliberate move to quicken the process of reclaiming Nigeria’s rightful place on world sports map.
“Congratulations to our worthy ambassadors.”