Stakeholders in sports have appealed to the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA to release fund early for athletes who will represent the FCT at the forthcoming 2020 National Sports Festival, NSF in Edo State.
Tolulope Oguntimehin, Vice Chairman, Sports Writers Association, SWAN, FCT chapter, decried the unpleasant experiences Team FCT had in past festivals, including the 2018 edition as well as the recently concluded National Youth Games in Ilorin.
He, therefore, called on authorities to commence preparations ahead of time so as to avoid the ugly experiences of the past.
“We do not want what happened in 2018 festival to repeat itself in 2020 in Edo State. I therefore, appeal to the FCTA, FCT Social Development and FCT Sports Council to commence immediate preparation and release of fund for athletes to raise the name of FCT high in Edo come 2020 NSF.
“I am calling on FCTA to please, release the fund for early and better preparation. We don’t want experience of 2018 where athletes were left with no option than to protest before their allowances were paid them.
“In 2018, there where a lot of unpleasant stories regarding the welfare of Team FCT athletes as many resorted to carrying placards in protest of nonpayment of camp allowances,” he said.
Also, a coach in the FCT who would not want his name on print, posited that the FCT had all it takes to challenge Delta, Lagos, Rivers and other big states for the best sporting state in the country.
He however, lamented that the FCTA was not giving the needed priority to sports.
The senior coach appealed for early release of funds for the athletes to fast track their training programmes ahead of the sports fiesta.
A boxer in FCT, who gave his name as Jude, said he was considering representing another state at the sports fiesta following what he termed “nonchalant attitude” of the FCTA to sports.
He said: “We are not encouraged at all. We are just here suffering. With our past experiences, I am not sure the situation will be different this time. The authorities are not serious.”
It could be recalled that late preparation for the 19th edition of the NSF by Team FCT affected athletes’ performance negatively at the 2018 edition held at National Stadium, Abuja.
Team FCT ended up at the 7th position at the end of the event with 21 Gold, 9 Silver, 24 Bronze medals.