Some squash fans yesterday called for a change in leadership of the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), alleging that the outgoing administration led by its President, Femi Ajagbe, performed poorly.
They spoke in Lagos against the backdrop of the National Sports Commission (NSC’s) directive that elections into the National Sports Federation would commence in April, with zonal elections.
A former national player, Friday Omeben, told Tidesports that the outgoing administration had not performed well.
“His tenure was not quite successful because he did not initiate any competition since those are part of the indices used in assessing performance.
“We need somebody who knows squash and has a passion for it; it’s only in this country that those who are not sportsmen take over the helms of affairs in sports associations.
“If you ask some aspirants for the office where squash was first played, they may not know that it was first played in England in 1967. It’s a shame,” Omeben said.
Tunji Agbeleye, the proprietor, Agbeleye Squash Academy, said the outgoing president lacked administrative skills which rendered his tenure ineffective.
“He failed to run the federation effectively, which translated into his inability to demonstrate good leadership.
“To be a federation’s president, one has to have the impetus. You have to know people and associate with them. Ajagbe didn’t know enough individuals and corporate organisations to support him,’’ he said.
The country’s number one female player, Longdie Dashback, told Tidesports that the fact that squash was not growing shows that the federation had derailed from its primary objective.
“The fact that squash is not growing shows that something is wrong. Take for instance in 2010, I went for the Africa Senior Championships in South Africa and was not given any recognition.
“Players are not encouraged and there are no competitions, only the Lagos State Government organises some annual tournaments.
“What has the federation done for the growth of the sport? Nothing! We just hope to get a leader that has the interest of the sport at heart,” Dashback said.
Sodiq Taiwo, another one-time ranked player, said that the outgoing president did not deserve a second chance because of his inability to secure sponsors.
“They are just there doing nothing, now it is the players that look for sponsors and organise tournaments which should not be in a sane federation.
“Even if they can’t organise tournaments for us, what about grassroots development programmes? We want fresh people with new ideas that can be beneficial to us,” Taiwo said.
President, Professional Squash Players of Nigeria Association (PSPNA), Seun Peters, said that irrespective of the result of the proposed elections, the association would be supported.
“We are going to work with anybody that becomes the president and his board,’’ he said.
When contacted, Ajagbe said that the allegations against him were unfounded as squash under him was one of the most vibrant federations.
He said that it was only natural for some individuals to rate other people’s performance poorly.
Ajagbe said that he became the Vice-President of Africa Squash Association based on his achievements as president of the federation and urged his critics to be objective.
“Our federation has taken part in international competitions for the past three years, a feat that most federations could not achieve.
“You can’t do it all, so, it is natural for people to complain. I am not perturbed, being the vice president in Africa shows that outsiders appreciate and recognise my efforts.
“I love criticism, it makes one better as long as it is constructive,” Ajagbe added.
Reps Summon Dare Over Doping Crisis At Tokyo
The House of Representatives has begun investigation of the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping, asking the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, to come and explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
Tidesports source gathered that the resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled, ‘Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.’
Consequently, the House resolved to “invite the Minister of Sports and Youth Development (sic) to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions, while mandating the Committee on Sports to “investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrence.”
Moving the motion, Mr Babatunde Ayeni said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating in the comity of nations.
Ayeni recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian Football Team which bagged the historic first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
The lawmaker lamented the incident of July 20, 2021, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes, including the highly-rated Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
He recalled that the Athletics Integrity Unit alleged that Okagbare, who won the opening heat of the Women’s 100 meters, had tested positive for human growth hormone.
“The House is also aware that the allegation further affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules requiring those from countries deemed to be at high risk of doping to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
“The House is concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests,” Ayeni added.
NYG: Rivers B’Ball Team Intensifies Preparations
Coach of the Rivers State Male Basket-ball Team, Dagogo Okumgba, has said that preparation, are in top gear for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG)scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Coach Okumgba disclosed this yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the team is doing everything necessary to get a better outing in Ilorin when the chips are down, saying that the players are in high spirits and are poised to compete favourably when the competition gets underway.
The coach said his players are committed to their preparations for the task ahead and determined to do the state proud at the games come November this year.
“We are doing our part to prepare as a team and wait for a go ahead from the Sports Ministry for camping so as to further prepare and fortify on the earlier made preparation,” Okumgba added.
The team qualified from their zone at the recently concluded zonal elimi-nation for team sports ahead of “National Youth Games” coming up next month.
It would be recalled that the zonal elimination for team events which comprised Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states took place in Asaba, Delta State, fortnight ago.
The date for the competition was earlier fixed for September 7 to 17 this year.
10 Athletes To Represent Nigeria At Winter Olympics
Following the successful completion of its inaugural Olympics Trials in Lagos last Saturday, the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria has stated that 10 athletes would represent Nigeria at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
Technical Director, BSFN, Dr. Seun Adigun disclosed this in Lagos.
“Ten athletes will be named for the Winter Olympics.
“We will have two athletes for Bobsled, two in the Monobob women’s team, two athletes for the Bobsled men’s team, two male Skeleton and two female Skeleton athletes for the national team,” Adigun, who played a key role in Nigeria’s debut at the last Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Sourh Korea, said.
President, BSFN, Solomon Ogba stated that the team would train on ice in Europe, ahead of the Winter Games.
“This is the first stage of the preparation for the Olympics before the athletes train on ice,” Ogba said.
History was made earlier in the year when six athletes, who were selected from the first-ever trials in Lagos, trained and participated on ice for the first time in Pyeongchang.
Tidesports source reports that after a few days of training on ice, Perpetua Nwanna and Alawode Sekinat won bronze medal in their debut competition, after finishing third in the women’s double Bobsleigh IBSFSliding Korea Cup.
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