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Sports administrators set targets for 2021 amidst uncertainty

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and this apparently has been the guide by which people plan to…

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and this apparently has been the guide by which people plan to avoid failure.

At the ushering of a new year, individuals, organisations make declarations and assertions as regards their plans for the incoming year that it became a tradition to roll out such plans or make resolutions on what is to be achieved.

Super Falconets celebrate after scoring a goal

2021 is a year that is filled with hopes and aspiration in the midst of uncertainty which is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are hopes that with the ‘new normal’ in place, certain objectives can be achieved at least, to keep the pre-COVID era alive.

In 2020, several tournaments were either cancelled or postponed to 2021 with the hope that the pandemic would be over. But that has not been the case as this had led sports federations’ administrators tailoring their programmes around the pandemic.

The minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, John Joshua-Akanji, said the government would ensure sporting activities receive adequate attention.

“2021 is the year for the Olympics and the postponed National Sports Festival. We believe that the year will be a remarkable one, trusting God that COVID-19 will get behind us and many activities that were suspended.

“In 2020 we will resume, beginning with the sports festival, the Nigerian Professional Football League which has kicked off even without fans and hopes to see things get better. By and large, there are a lot of things on the calendar that will start to roll out as the year goes by,” he said.

The Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Sunday Adeleye described 2021 as a busy year for athletics, saying early preparation and adequate funding would be the benchmark for a successful outing in any international competition for Team Nigeria.

“We have to start all over again in order to get the right results in 2021. We have to be truthful to ourselves because the outbreak of COVID-19 crippled sporting activities in the country and most athletes have not been training.

“As we are starting the year with the National Sports Festival, we hope to discover more athletes which will give us a guide on what we should expect at the Olympics.

“So it’s going to be a busy year for athletics in 2021 as so many meets are lined up for Team Nigeria. We hope that all the stakeholders come together to achieve the best for the country,” Adeleye said.

Super Eagles against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana

However, according to the national wrestling coach, Purity Akuh, the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) preparation for Olympic qualification is in top gear.

“Nigerians should expect good results from the wrestling team. We just finished the camp set up by the sports ministry due to the festive season, and we have tested our athletes and saw that they are in good shapes having worked on our tactics and that of our opponents.

“Recall that we are supposed to go for the Olympics qualifiers in Morocco but those were postponed due to the COVID-19 to 2021. So, the federation is working hard to ensure we get more athletes qualified for the Olympics against the last edition where only 7 athletes qualified,” he said.

In the same vein, the Nigeria Paralympic Committee Secretary-General, Suleiman Isah, has said that the nation’s special athletes will not disappoint but live up to expectations in making the country proud in international competitions this year.

“Special sport was the worst hit in the year 2020 because many athletes had hoped that their participation in the Paralympics Games will increase their economic gains and get them endorsements but unfortunately COVID-19 stopped many athletes from competing in the qualifiers.

“We pray that when the windows are open in January or February we can regain what we lost in 2020. I am confident that the special athletes will not disappoint Nigerian in 2021,” he said.

The President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Samuel Ocheho has declared that the HFN is committed to making Handball in Nigeria much improved this year than in previous years.

Ocheho, in his New Year message said the HFN has put everything in place to ensure that the federation’s vision and aspirations for the year are actualised to ensure the continued developmental growth of handball in the country.

“On behalf of the entire Nigeria Handball family, I want to wish all stakeholders of handball in Nigeria a happy New Year.

“We hope to do much better than last year in ensuring that the vision and aspirations of the federation in the continued developmental growth of handball in the country are met,” Ocheho said.

Similarly, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, said his administration projected making N18 billion from the NPFL TV annually, as there were plans to make the NPFL TV an integral part of the economy.

“We are projecting about N18 billion that we will be making from it every year. It is going to have a huge impact on the economy because we are looking at an economy beyond oil, beyond other areas,” he said.

At the moment, fingers remain crossed to see how some of these plans will be accomplished as the year runs out.