‘Tosin Oluwalowo

The Ministry of Youth and Sports activities Growth’s record of 60 sports activities icons in celebration of Nigeria’s sixtieth Independence on Friday has generated numerous criticisms from the sports activities sector.

The 60-man record was launched on Friday at a ceremony attended by the sports activities minister, Sunday Dare, on the Moshood Abiola Nationwide Stadium, Abuja.

However distinguished stakeholders insist that sure names shouldn’t have been on the record, whereas people who ought to have made the record had been excluded.

Notable names lacking on the record are the late Shuiabu Amodu, former Tremendous Eagles coach, who certified the nationwide groups for the 2002 and 2010 World Cups; Mikel Obi, ex-Eagles captain and one of many nation’s most adorned footballers; Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin, weightlifting Olympics silver medallist and the primary African and Commonwealth lifter to win a medal on the world sports activities showpiece; Kadiri Ikhana, a 1980 AFCON winner who led Enyimba to win Nigeria’s first CAF Champions League title in 2003, amongst others.

Ace sports activities journalist, Godwin Enakhena, stated the thought was laudable, however was not correctly applied.

He additionally questioned the inclusion of businessmen Aliko Dangote and Kesington Adebutu, whereas late Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, sponsor of the Asoju Oba Desk Tennis Cup, which has been held for over 50 years, was excluded.

“The minister must be counseled for desirous about an excellent thought like this, however sadly, an excellent thought has been rubbished by not capturing the true heroes of Nigerian sports activities.

Enakhena stated, “Sure, a few of them are on the record however you can’t have 60 icons and the primary man to win a medal for Nigeria – Emmanuel Ifeajuna – was not captured, you’ll be able to’t have a listing the place Okoya-Thomas will not be captured.

“You’ll be able to’t have a duplication the place you’ve gotten Garba Lawal, Daniel Amokachi and the remainder standing on their very own and also you additionally record them within the staff that gained the Olympics soccer gold.

“I believe it was well-thought out, however the implementation was flawed. An inventory like this shouldn’t be thrown open for the general public to vote. The ministry ought to have made the record of 200 athletes throughout board for folks to vote from the record, not that folks will simply vote randomly.

“The record didn’t do justice to what it must be. There are numerous minuses. You’ll ask your self, what’s Dangote doing on that record, or Kensington Adebutu? It is a record of icons for 60 years, not what they did yesterday. So, it doesn’t seize it in any respect.”

Enakhena questioned why Israel Adesanya, who represents New Zealand as a UFC fighter featured on the record whereas there wasn’t a spot for Hakeem Olajuwon who’s considered one of many best basketball gamers of all time or boxer Anthony Joshua.

Olympian and former hurdler Moses Oyiki additionally buttressed Enakhena’s view, saying the choice course of ought to have been left within the arms of pros.

“One of these train must be executed by a committee or panel, not by in style votes or nominations. Such committee or panel would have requested for enter from members of the general public particularly stakeholders. This oversight wouldn’t have occurred,” Oyiki, who competed within the 110m hurdles on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, wrote on WhatsApp platform Household United By Sports activities

Sports activities journalist, Effiong Nyong, additionally faulted the record.

“With nice respect to all these listed, I’ve not stopped to surprise in regards to the standards used to reach at these chosen. I’m positive that sports activities historical past was not a part of it. Generational efficiency was additionally not within the minds of the folks, I can say that they need to have allowed the ever sleeping canine to stay in its abode,” he said on FUBS.

“Nigeria’s sports activities historical past tells us of a UK Vacationer Group of 1949, the Corridor of Famers selected (solely) one in every of them,” he added.

In accordance with Nyong, others who deserved to be within the record embrace long-serving ex-CAF secretary-general, Oyo Orok Oyo; Tony Eke, ex-YSFON boss, who helped uncover gamers for the Golden Eaglets that gained the inaugural U-17 World Cup in China in 1985, and Abraham Ordia, a former Secretary of the Supreme Council for Sports activities in Africa.

“They (additionally) ignored the Nigerian Soccer Supporters Membership based in 1952 by late pioneer sports activities commentator Ishola Folorunsho and co, a membership that bought FIFA and CAF’s consideration. In 1998, FIFA president urged the world to emulate the Nigerian Soccer Supporters Membership.”

Ogbeifo-Balofin nonetheless can’t consider she was ignored of the record regardless of being the nation’s finest performing weightlifter.

“As the primary African and Commonwealth lady to have gained an Olympic silver medal in weightlifting for Nigeria, I used to be unrecognised. That is unbelievable. Recognition is being recycled in Nigeria and never on sports activities benefit,” she additionally added on FUBS.

Former Nigeria 100m report holder, Seun Ogunkoya, questioned the standards utilized in arriving on the record.

“This record has proven that sports activities within the nation has turn out to be politics and never primarily based on achievements,” Ogunkoya informed The PUNCH.

“I’m nonetheless but to recover from how I used to be excluded from the record. I used to be Nigeria’s 100m report holder for near 10 years, I ran sub 10s greater than many different athlete in Nigeria. In the event that they had been utilizing Olympics to guage, I used to be on the Olympics, I used to be additionally on the World Championships and the World Cup, so I don’t understand how they might exclude me from the record. “

One other problem that drew controversy on the record of sporting icons, was the inclusion of athletes who had been banned for drug-related offences up to now.

“So far as I’m involved, anyone who has had any problem with medicine shouldn’t be on that record,” former heptathlete Brown Ebewele stated.

“So that you can be caught utilizing medicine means there was an intention to cheat, so, why do you have to give an award to a cheat?

“Whether or not they had been banned and unbanned they usually got here again doesn’t matter. What issues is that they cheated at one time or the opposite they usually had been punished, the truth that they got here again after they had been banned doesn’t imply they need to be celebrated.”

Lauretta Onye, the 2016 Paralympic Video games gold medallist, who was not on the record, added, “For me, anyone that has been banned earlier than will not be certified to be referred to as an icon as a result of they’ve disgraced the nation.”

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