NRFF blames government, private sector’s apathy for Black Stallions failure
The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) has blamed the national team’s (Black Stallions) failure to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games on inadequate funding by the government and the private sector.
The vice president of the Federation, Tunji Fasimoye told The Guardian yesterday that the team’s desire to excel at the just concluded Olympics qualifier in South Africa could not be attained because other Africa teams in the championship were adequately funded and exposed to more sophisticated facilities than the Nigerian team.
He praised the Black Stallions for working hard to raise Nigeria’s rating from 11 to eighth in Africa, saying the result would have been better if the Federal Government and corporate bodies assisted the team to prepare for the championship.
Fasimoye pleaded with the newly appointed Minister for Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalong, to pay attention to rugby and other sports in the country, nothing that rugby could bring as much recognition to Nigeria as football if properly funded.
“The national rugby team did not disappoint in South Africa. Getting the Olympic ticket was our target, but at the end of the day other teams that were better encouraged and funded got the ticket.
“Despite the fact that the rugby league and national team are being funded by one individual, the Stallions still moved up to eighth position. The Kenyan rugby team that qualified for the Rio Olympics was funded by their government. Nigerian rugby team needs financial assistance to gain exposure that will make it compete favourably with their counterparts globally,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the NRFF has congratulated Nneka Ikem-Anibeze on her recent appointment as the Special Adviser to the Minister of Sports.
Fasimoye, while speaking on behalf of the President of the federation, described Anibeze as an open-minded sports journalist who has done so much in projecting the image of sports in Nigeria.