When it comes to the Athletic Federation of Nigeria’s recent decision to hire former U.S. sprinter Maurice Greene to coach the Nigerian national relay team, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Enefiok Udo-Obong has a few questions.
The Punch passed along statements Udo-Obong posted on his blog. While Udo-Obong doesn’t dispute Greene’s talent as a sprinter — Greene did at one time hold the world record in the 100 meters — he does wonder why the Athletic Federation of Nigeria elected to hire Greene over a Nigerian coach:
“He (Greene) was the best sprinter in the world…yes. But what is his pedigree in coaching?
“Who has he worked with to justify his selection? As a motivator, yes. I would have supported but not if being paid with resources that could have trained our athletes and coaches back at home, organise competitions and give some aid to the long-suffering and neglected home-based athletes.
“We have had Nigerian coaches that have coached world champions. We have produced world-beating relay teams with Nigerian coaches. Why does it have to be any different now?”
“I am saddened at how we have gradually been ruining our sport and even our coaches.There was a time we had coaches like Tony Urhobo, Tobias Igwe, Armelia Edet, Samuel Akinremi, Lawrence, Harrison Mommoh, Epa Osarobo. From these seven names, every Nigerian that has won any medal in the world championship or Olympics over the 20-year period from 1980 to 2000 worked with them. And it’s no coincidence that these were our best years in athletics. Now everything is watered down.”
Greene’s contract is set to end after the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in August.
[Source: The Punch]