The Nigeria Football Federation has congratulated the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the person of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare on Nigeria’s outing at the 32nd Olympics which ended in Japan earlier this month.
The statement included a sly dig at former Minister of Sports during the 2016 Olympics in Rio as Amaju Pinnick compared Sunday Dare’s administration with the previous one. While Nigeria did not win any Gold medal at the Olympics, they won one silver and one bronze medal from the Games, with a decent number of athletes reaching the final of their events. The President of the NFF, Mr Amaju Pinnick wrote that the football teams, male and female, would be present at the next Olympic games in Paris.
“The Nigeria contingent may not have returned with the harvest of medals that many hoped for, but there are bright lights all around and some brilliant individual performances that give hope for the next Games in Paris. At the end of the day, the silver and bronze medals earned in Tokyo make the just-ended Olympics Nigeria’s best outing in 21 years. That is commendable.
“The Sports Minister, in his personal capacity, and the Ministry of Sports as a body worked their socks off. The Honourable Minister was exemplary; he explained, encouraged and empathized with the athletes as necessary and led the cheer at most of the venues where Nigerian athletes competed.
“He is such a wonderful breath of fresh air from the immediate Minister of Sports who rather constituted himself into a bulwark and divisive force against Nigerian athletes at the last Olympics in Brazil. We do not wish to recall his inglorious remarks against the football team when the team was camping in the USA. That football team eventually ended up winning Team Nigeria’s only medal – a bronze – at the Games.”
Pinnick was particularly delighted at the performance of multi-talented Ese Brume, who won the women’s long jump: “I am happy for Ese (Brume) because I played a role in her discovery and nurturing. I am satisfied with her career progression and I believe she will be there in Paris in three years’ time to win the gold medal.
“I also pledge that our football teams will return to the Games in three years’ time in Paris and compete favourably for the gold medals.”