Why are we so dramatic in Nigeria?

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The 2016 Rio Olympics games has been concluded, and it will be worthy to make proper analysis of how the Nigerian contingent fared in Brazil. Nigeria only won a bronze medal in football after beating Honduras in the third place duel

Planning for Rio

The woeful performance of Team Nigeria at the just concluded Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil, according to pundits is traceable to the poor planning for the competition.

 Countries like the U.S.A, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Australia, China, Korea among others have a record of impressive performance in the Olympics. No doubt, this is attributable to their adequate preparation and provision which is a good recipe for success.

 However, NaIJ.com can report that Nigeria as a nation did not prepare well enough for this Olympics, hence, the poor outcome. Recall that Team Nigeria struggled to get funds released for training and preparation, resulting in some athletes seeking out sponsors or exhausting their hard-earned financial resources.

Besides, the 2016 budget controversy  and subsequent implementation did not help matters as many athletes were seen running helter-skelter for a release of funds to at least get a modest six-week preparation.

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 Nigerian Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, winner of the women 100 meter race, bits her gold medal Sunday 12 October, 2003 after receiving her medals at the 8th All African Games in Abuja. AFP PHOTO PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

File picture of Nigerian Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, winner of the women 100 meter race, bits her gold medal Sunday 12 October, 2003 after receiving her medals at the 8th All African Games in Abuja. AFP PHOTO PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Worried by poor planning, the former African queen of the track, Mary Onyali had said: “I am gripped with fear and anxiety that what happened in 2012 may happen again. I am hoping and praying to God. I am not wishing any athlete to fail, but I am  hoping and praying that we can win a medal.”

 While sports’ analysts blamed sports administrators for the ‘shameful outing,’ the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung said the immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan deserved the knocks for poor planning.

The minister blamed Jonathan’s government for the poor handling of logistics and preparations for the Olympics responsible for Nigeria’s lacklustre performance at the games.


There is no gain saying that despite unimpressive planning, many Nigerians expected that magic would play out. Indeed, expectations were high for the continents to return home with huge medals.

Nigeria participated in 10 events, including ones where we won medals before. In these events, Blessing Okagbare, Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri and Dream Team VI were Nigerians’ medals hopefuls at the Olympics.

Blessing Okagbare

She’s one woman who has been consistent in the sprint races and one of the brightest hope for Nigeria in terms of winning medals in the Track and Field events.

NAIJ.com had reported that in past Olympic Games, Nigeria has always been a contender in competing with dominant countries in relay races and with Okagabare involved in the 4x100m relay race, the nation had the hope of finishing in the top three.

Blessing Okagbare

Blessing Okagbare

At the Olympics, Okagbare competed in the women’s 100m, 200m and the 4X100m relays. She opted out of the women’s long jump as she sought a place in the 200m semi-final during the week but she lost out after placing fifth in her heat. Okagbare also failed to win a medal in the 100m after she finished third in the semi-finals. Her time of 11.09secs was not enough to earn her a place in the final.

Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri

There were high expectations that the duo of Aruna Quadri and veteran Olympia, Segun Toriola would make Nigeria proud in Table Tennis because both players are top world ranked athletes in the sport.

Toriola only advanced to the second round in the male singles, but was beaten 4-2 by his Japanese challenger, Niwa Koki.  Toriola, 41, however, made record of featuring at the Olympics for 7th times.

At the Olympics, the scintillating performance of Aruna Quadri, who made it to the quarter-final of the men’s singles event after beating two of the world’s top players to become the first African to play in the last eight of the Olympic Games is a major achievement.

The Dream Team VI

Coach Samson Siasia’s Dream Team VI was another medal hopeful at Rio Olympics. Every Nigerian was looking up to the U-23 team to give Nigeria another historic goal medal like the Atlanta 96′ squad.

Recall that Siasia led a team to the 2008 Beijing but they were overpowered by the Argentines who edged Nigeria by 1-0 in the final to win gold.

Segun Toriola and Arun Quadri

Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri

Coach Samson Siasia had cried out for help over unpaid salary arrears and his players’ welfare as the players were in mess when they were stranded in Atlanta, USA.

Nigeria’s football team to the 2016 Rio Olympics, however, arrived barely  five hours for the opening match with Japan at Manaus, Brazil. The team struggled past Japan 5-4 in their first Group B game, won Sweden in second match, but lost third group match to Colombia. Siasia boys overpowered Denmark in the quarter finals, but were edged by the Germans in the Semi-finals.

However, the expectation of Nigerians was for the Dream Team to win the gold medal, but they could not as they only won Bronze during a third-place match against Honduras.

 Embarrassing Moments

Apart from the Bronze medal won by the Dream Team VI, a lot of embarrassment trailed Team Nigeria’s outing at the Olympics.

When the Dream Team VI got stranded in Atlanta, USA, there were reports that it was the presidency that bailed them out by sending a presidential jet to ferry the team to Brazil. Contrarily, it was later reported how the American airline, Delta Airline assisted the team and saved Nigeria from an embarrassment of missing their opening game against Japan.

According to the report, the airline which has its headquarters in Atlanta were touched by a video posted by the Nigeria football Federation (NFF) of the historic moment 20 years ago in Atlanta on August 3, 1996, captioned: “Our Dream Team won gold in the football event of the Atlanta Olympic games #20YearsAgoInAtlanta.”

Dream Team defeated Honduras to win bronze at Rio Olympics

Dream Team defeated Honduras to win bronze at Rio Olympics

 March with tracksuits 

In what observers described as a show of shame, Team Nigeria after the late arrival of the U-23 football team as the country’s contingent, led by table tennis star Funke Oshonaike, filed out for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games dressed in tracksuits.

The opening ceremony of the Olympics is usually used by participating teams to display their country’s traditional wears and culture before over one billion viewers globally, but Team Nigeria marched with tracksuits in Rio after the official kits earmarked for the outing did not arrive in Rio, but arrived just three days to the end of events.

Alexander Wolff, a sports writer covering the Games tweeted, “Nigeria, marching in sweats because official outfits didn’t make it to Rio. Can we agree that they’re a country to pull for these two weeks?”

 Wrong National Anthem

Another embarrassing moment was when Nigeria’s Dream Team VI failed to respond as a wrong anthem was played as they filed out for the preliminary pleasantries against Japan, in their opening Group B fixture of the Olympic Games.

The tune played supposedly as Nigeria’s anthem was definitely not that of the most populous black nation, as the players looked with awe, wondering ‘if that was actually for them.’ Barely minutes into the game, an announcer apologised for the mix-up in Nigeria’s anthem.

Mikel Obi’s $4,000 bail out

In yet another scandal, Team Nigeria captain at the Olympics, Mikel John Obi, reportedly had to pay $4,000 of his personal money to save the footballers from embarrassment after a hotel in Sao Paulo held the entire team to ransom over the bills incurred by additional officials.

chiereka ukogu 2

Chiereka Ukogu

 A source was quoted to have said that it took the intervention of the Chelsea star, who paid over $4,000 before the players and officials of the team were allowed to leave the hotel. Mikel, however, denied donating his personal money to pay hotel bills, but the NFF later announced that Mikel has been reimbursed. A situation that left many people shaking their heads.

Self-Sponsored Contingent   

Chierika Ukogu, Nigeria’s first rower in Olympics sponsored herself to the Olympics. Analysts have angrily questioned the rationale behind Ukogu sponsoring herself considering how blessed Nigeria is.

Could it be that there’s no capable federation? Or is it because no Nigerian had ever participated in rowing and therefore the sports administrators felt that there was no need for it in the first? These posers have remained unanswered.

No doubt, the US-born Ukogu had set a record and her patriotism deserves commendation, observers say.

One Medal, 78th Position

Thanks to Dream Team VI with Bronze Medal, Team Nigeria almost repeated the colossal failure it recorded in Beijing Olympics in 2012 where the contingent won no single medal.

In what observers described as shameful, the country with over 170 million population finished on distant 78th position on the medal’s table. The ‘Giant of Africa’ was ranked below Burundi, Niger Republic, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco on the medal’s table.

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William Ekong

William Ekong Troost celebrates his bronze medal

Nigeria participated in athletics, football, basketball, wrestling, canoeing, weightlifting, boxing, swimming, table tennis and rowing, but could only manage to win bronze in all the events participated in.

 Japanese surgeon’s reward

 Japanese multi-millionaire, Katsuya Takasu fulfilled the promise he made to give the Dream Team VI a huge amount of money if they win Gold, Silver or Bronze at the football event.

Following their win, he met with the team and personally handed a $190,000 cheque written in Mikel’s name, for the players to Mikel Obi and $200,000 cheque written in Siasia’s name for the Technical crew.

They’ve sacrificed a lot to get to Brazil and reach the semi-finals. Humans with such a strong spirit should be encouraged to perform beyond their own imagination,” the plastic surgeon quoted to have said.


Japanese multi-millionaire, Katsuya Takasu fulfilled his promise

 What next?

To forestall subsequent colossal failure, sports analysts have suggested immediate preparation to next Olympics coming up in Tokyo by 2020. Others called for the total overhauling of the Ministry of Sports.

According to John Paul Ejiogu, “When you look at the medal’s table, you see America, Great Britain, China, South Africa & even Kenya grabbing medals everyday, do you not know they’ve been preparing for this for years?

“Some started preparing immediately after the last Olympic in London four years ago. That’s how to do well in an outing, not waking up one morning to assemble people for a show of shame. It’s high time the government look well before dishing out portfolios. Our sports ministry needs an overhaul.”


Sports Minister took a picture with the Dream team VI Olympics squad

Equally, Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung had disclosed that preparations have begun towards Nigeria’s participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. How true is this? Can we hold Dalung to his words? Responses to the posers appear blowing in the air.

The post Why are we so dramatic in Nigeria? appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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