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NTF President calls for sports development in Nigeria

Posted : 27 March 2024

The President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Abdullahi Saidu-Baba, has called for a restructuring of Nigeria's sports development architecture, urging top sports officials to retire older athletes from Team Nigeria and allow younger ones to take on prominent roles.

Saidu-Baba strongly believes that only an influx of young athletes can improve Nigeria's fortunes in international competitions. While commenting on Team Nigeria's performance at the recently concluded 13th African Games in Accra, Ghana, he expressed his thoughts.

While acknowledging that Nigeria's athletes proved many doubters wrong with their performances, leading to a second-place finish on the final medals table, Saidu-Baba believes it could have been better with younger athletes in the contingent.

He advocates for the retirement of older athletes in each sports category to make way for new talent ahead of the 14th African Games in Cairo, Egypt. Saidu-Baba suggests that the process of weeding out and replacing older athletes should begin before the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France, and the National Sports Festival in November.

He further explains that strategies are needed for the grooming process, emphasizing the importance of good height and outstanding physical condition as criteria for selecting medal-winning youngsters, using taekwondo as an example.

Saidu-Baba emphasizes the need for more competitions and exposure for young athletes at local, regional, and international levels to prepare them adequately. He highlights the importance of starting preparation early and incorporating events into the National Sports Festival to prepare athletes for upcoming competitions.

However, he acknowledges the challenge of funding, which has hindered Nigeria's talent development efforts, warning that plans to win medals will fall short without sufficient funding provided in a timely manner.


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