President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Hon Ibrahim Gusau, with a disturbed mind set at the zero performance of Team Nigeria at the just concluded World championships in London said, “it is time to return to the basics.”
Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau spoke on telephone from the London venue of the World Athletics championship. Though, he sounded low for the medal miss of the 4x400m quartet but he braced up like a sprinter when other issues came up for discussion.
“You remember after my election, told the nation we were returning to the basics. We had the World championships and we knew it must be over before we start our own realities. Truth is Nigerian athletics is down. To rise does not need palliative measures. It is a fundamental surgery.
“Surgeries can be very painful but they bring succor at the end of the day. Having been a board member for eight years, I already understand where the troubles are. That is our main focus right now.
Asked to assess the world championships, he said, “Competitions are like examinations. If you did not attend lectures, field studies, assignments that students take during the session it tells you what quality of pass to expect. We are aware of the situation of things before now, we wanted to first of all see how much it can be salvaged.”
“I will tell you that I expected a minimum of a bronze from the 4x400m. We had internal issues which were compounded by organisational dislocations. Beyond these, I commend all the athletes who attended and competed at the championship. Two, we shall reinvigorate our system within the AFN to make it work seamlessly like all great institutions.”
“Beyond now, I can say that, if possible, at least two of the six Athletics Development centres we planned to raise new kids will be in place before the end of this year. We are starting in Plateau State. That is a state known for middle and long distance. That is one set of disciplines we had abandoned. Since we are giving that priority, give us a little more time and we shall blossom.”
He added, “I promised that every geo-political zone of the country will have a national athletics development centre to coordinate the comparative athletics talents of their zones. I am not in a hurry for medals. I need medals but what needs to be done first must be in place and that is the revolving door for great, young and promising athletes.”
The former House of Representatives member also disclosed that, “every athlete in Nigerian athletics will be given insurance cover from next season. The Golden League is being re-worked just like the National Trials. More athletics coaches will be engaged, so those with good programme should start working harder. Above all, we shall bring a web of kiddies’ athletics programme that will attract children in primary schools to our sport.”