Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has blamed the dismal performance of Team Nigeria at the recently concluded Rio Olympics in Brazil on the misappropriation of the sum of N3bn meant for High Performance Centre by the last administration.
He said this was the reason the ministry is short of cash which also affected the way the Olympic team prepared for the 2016 Games.
Dalung who was speaking to Punch Newspaper, pointed out that the sum of N3bn budgeted for the High Performance Centre designed to keep the athletes at their optimum for competitions disappeared before he became minister.
In his words:
“I am aware that up to N3bn was approved for the High Performance Centre long before we came but it is a mystery how that money was used. I just couldn’t understand how such a thing could happen.
“The money was not just to equip the centre but was also meant to cover the salaries of the experts we brought in to work with the athletes but they found a way to spend the money.
“They wiped everything such that we are now paying the experts from our overheard cost rather than the money actually meant for that. It is as bad as that, I mean what we met on ground. So you can see how long this problem started.
“It could have been a lot much better. So this is why we have to struggle with funding when it should not be.”
Thesheet.ng reported that many Nigerian athletes were forced to seek support of Nigerians via crowd-sourcing platforms like Gofundme on the eve of the games in order to raise funds to travel for the global sporting event where the country won a lone bronze medal in Football.