Coaches protest alleged shoddy treatment at presidential reception for athletes

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The Nigerian coaches, who were at last Thursday’s presentation and award ceremony for the Nigerian team athletes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, criticized the way they were ignored during the event despite their contributions to the athletes’ success in the games.

According to mainlandmetronews.com.ng, the coaches also criticized the organizers of the presentation ceremony in Abuja for making them stand during the ceremony, where President Muhammadu Buhari doled out 200 million naira to be shared by the athletes and their coaches.The gold medalists received N4.5 million each and the two athletes who earned national Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) awards also received homes in Abuja.

The coaches, whose athletes won the gold, got 1.5 million naira, which was another vexing issue for the athletes’ hairdressers.

“A trainer like Kayode Yaya, who has been working with That Brume for years, was present in the hall, but they didn’t even give him a seat, let alone give him and the others a mention.

“All the coaches whose athletes won gold were not recognized,” said one of the coaches present.

“The names of the athletes were plastered on the seats in the aisle and no coach was given a seat, they were asked to stand in the back.”
Commenting on the issue, Solomon Aliu of the Nigerian Athletics Trainers Association said: “It’s appalling; this is not the way it’s supposed to be.

“People worked for athletes to be successful. There is a chain… the doctors, psychologists, social workers and on top of the chain is the coach.

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“I don’t know why the Ministry demoted the coaches. In the past, if athletes got N2.5m, coaches got N2m. As much as I applaud the Ministry, they should try to encourage the coaches. That would make them happy to continue doing what they’re doing.”

In the same vein, throwing coach Gabriel Opuana, whose athlete also won gold, said the coaches have not received due recognition.

“I was not at the awards, but I heard what happened. If it was soccer, the coaches would get the same reward or more, but the coaches of other sports don’t get the same treatment.

“It’s not even about the money, but it’s nice to recognize the coaches and the work they do. President Buhari did not even mention a coach during his speech.

“During the Goodluck Jonathan era, it wasn’t like that. The coaches made these athletes and it is time for the Ministry of Sport to wake up to do what is necessary.

“I think that those who are advising the Sports Minister are to blame for the bad treatment of the coaches.”

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