Athletics coach, Tobias Igwe, has lamented the continued stay of American athletics coaches, Angie Taylor and Eric Campbell, in the country.
According to Igwe, the two coaches, who are in charge of the country’s High Performance Centre in Port Harcourt, have nothing to offer the country.
Taylor is the National Director of the HPC while Campbell is the Director of athletics of the HPC. Both coaches, who are allegedly being owed salaries totalling to N74m, had their contracts renewed by the sports minister, Solomon Dalung, in January.
Igwe, who is popularly called Toblow, told our correspondent that the two coaches had yet to produce athletes from the grassroots since their engagement by the former sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, in 2012.
He urged the sports ministry not to breach the contracts entered into with the Americans, adding that they should be paid their entitlements and allowed to leave the country.
“There is no reason why the ministry should owe the coaches. They were employed by them because they needed their services and they should be paid for doing their work. Not paying them means that the ministry is breaching the contracts they entered into with them,” he said.
“Taylor and Campbell should be paid and allowed to go. They are really not useful to the country’s athletics since their arrival. Coaches are judged by the results they bring in through the athletes.
“They are expected to draw up plans for the Athletic Federation of Nigeria to get the best out of our athletes and win medals at competitions but that hasn’t been the case. They have not produced any athletes from the grassroots since their employment and that is not a good thing for their reputation and that of the country.”
He added, “The country’s ranking in athletics is really suffering and the two coaches aren’t helping. I believe that if I’m presented with the same number of athletes and allowed to train them for a period of time, my athletes will do better than theirs.”
Toblow added, “Long-term planning and organisation ahead of competitions will do us a lot of good, just like we did for the Barcelona ’92 Olympics.
“This will enable us to start at a good time and build the athletes to good competition status and not the rush we do for recent events we go for.”
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