President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Solomon Ogba, has explained the reason United State of America kit company, Nike, splashed a mouth-watering $500,000 (about N79 million) sponsorship deal on Nigerian athlete, Blessing Okagbare.
Speaking at a media parley in Abuja recently, the AFN boss revealed that USA wants to use her to break the stronghold and dominance of Jamaicans in sprint races, emphasising that it is characteristic of America to deploy resources to conquer any foreseen or obvious rival.
Arguing that America sensing that it would be easy for them to subdue Jamaicans’ strong threat to the country in sprint ahead of the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games, Chief Ogba maintained that having seen strong potential in Okagbare, they decided to deploy resources on her to destabilise the Jamaicans.
“Sports is very capital intensive, it is not cheap at all. If we must make it viable in Nigeria, we must be ready to spend the money on our sportsmen and women. Instead of blaming the administrators for our poor performances, we should put in more money to prepare our athletes.
“Nike spent $500,000 as sponsorship deal to prepare Blessing Okagbare and I can’t see Nigerian government starching out such amount on just one individual athlete. But, Americans put so much on sports because they know what they want. Having seen that they might not have the potentials and talents to stop Jamaicans’ stronghold in sprint race, they decided to sponsor somebody in the class of Blessing who can help them achieve that purpose, he noted.
The Delta State former commissioner for sports had assured that Team Nigeria is going to London to compete not on jamboree as speculated in many quarters, stressing that Nigeria is too big a country to miss in the London Games. If you want my honest response to the debate on whether Nigeria should be in London or not because of the funding from government.