Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Olusade Adesola has told athletes to consider their inclusion in the team to the 12th African Games holding in Morocco as ‘a great privilege.’
In the absence of a Sports Minister, Adesola, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, is saddled with the responsibility of managing the sector and ensuring the country maintains a respectable position among the comity of nations.
He reported that Team Nigeria would field 462 athletes and accompanying officials, including the medical and administrative support staff.
He also warned Nigerian athletes that any of them that chooses to stay away from the African Games, would not be considered for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Addressing the athletes in Abuja, Adesola said: “it is indeed a great privilege that you are counted among the few sportsmen that would champion Nigeria’s cause in Morocco.”
Adesola was emphatic when he said the payment of athletes’ allowances would be made only at the Games and not upfront.
“No Brazzaville, No Rio,” he reminded the athletes on the subsisting regulation established in 2015 which he explained to mean, “No participation at the African Games, No participation in the Olympics.”
“The imperative of the axiom derives from the fact that the African Games serves as qualifier for some sporting events to the Olympics,” he said.
“I want to assure that the Ministry would continue to support the efforts of our athletes as resources permit.”
Adesola acknowledged the patriotism of foreign-based athletes, some of who, he said, shuttled a number of times to and from Nigeria in their quest to wear the national colour initially at own cost.
He however charged the athletes to avoid doping infractions, and to forget self-medication to avoid failing dope test.
The 12th edition of the All African Games will take place in Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco from 19th -31st of August, 2019.
Morocco was selected to replace Malabo, Equatorial Guinea as the host of the 2019 edition in July 2018.