In this interview, Team Nigeria’s Chef de Mission to the African Games in Morocco, Al-Hassan Yakmut, said the federal government has the final say on whether to return to the National Sports Commission or not.
Four years ago you led the country to the African Games in Congo Brazzaville as the Director General National Sports Commission. This year you also led the team to Morocco as the Chef de Mission, how do you feel personally?
I am excited to serve again in the capacity of Chef de Mission. To me it is a mark of honour and a test of reliability and we have proven that we are determined Nigerians that whatever other people are doing, we can do and continue to sustain it while also projecting the image of the country through sports.
How do we maintain and improve on our standing in sports?
We must return to the grassroots development blueprint that was initiated in 2006. It must be dusted, updated and implemented or else very soon, we will be struggling even in our own area of specialisation.
You can see the return of Nigeria in weightlifting, boxing, although a minimum decline in athletics but again we posted some sustainability in Badminton and table tennis. But we need to rekindle that powerful past.
It used to be seven over seven in table tennis but now it is about two or three medals, so we need rejuvenation in that aspect.
Would you say the absence of a Sports Commission has contributed to the decline?
It is actually the government decision and we have to wait for the new direction to know where we are going on that.