By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
Nigerian U-20 Hockey Team would not be in India to compete at the Junior Olympic when the rest of the world converge on that country for the global sports fiesta for junior athletes.
This is as a result of the present economic crunch in Nigeria. As the economy bites harder, the sportsindustry has been one of the most affected sectors in the country as many athletes are denied chances to represent the country in various sports competitions.
The story of the Nigeria U-20 Hockey Team is not a different one as they become the recently affected team that would not travel to Namibia to participate in the Hockey qualifying Championship for the Youth Olympic coming up in India our investigation has revealed.
The team who had earlier gathered in Kaduna for a trainning camp were abandoned at the Murtala Square Astro-Turf Hockey Pitch in a dilapidated camps without any feeding arrangement.
When our reporter visited the camp in Kaduna, he only sighted few passionate young lads who are ready to play the game, but were lowly motivated as there was no any sign it is a national team camp.
Our findings revealed that there was no any arrangement for their feedings let alone camp allowance.
Our reporter made effort to speak with the Coach on ground, but he declined making comment; rather he was busy impacting on the boys with the techniques and physical knowledge needed for the game passionately.
Few days later, our reporter further enquired from inside source in the camp and what seems like cheering news came the boys way, but only for their hope to be dashed at the last minutes.
Our findings showed that the boys were moved to Abuja on Thursday and were placed on N1000 feeding allowance per day while other camp allowances were only promised them.
The source told our reporter that the boys were not bothered because they thought moving to Abuja was to intensify training for the competition, only for them to receive a disappointing news on Friday night that they can’t make the journey again for lack of cash.
Our inside source said, they were told there is no money to purchase the air-ticket for the boys.
A source close to the Hockey Federation told our reporter that the Sport Ministry’s claim of paucity of fund is responsible for the recent unfortunate development.
It would be recalled that the various Football National Team of Nigeria is faced with similar situation. Recently the former Super Eagles Coach revealed that he had to feed the Super Eagles players with his personal Money in Rwanda during the CHAN competition.
Also Samson Siasia’s U-23 players faced similar challenges in Senegal when they went for the African U-23 Championship, which they eventually won.