By Duro Ikhazuagbe, 02.01.2007
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) yesterday insisted that the $10,000 grant sourced from Skye Bank by Team Nigeria to support Olusoji Fasuba’s training programme was not as a result of the sprinter’s threat to dump Nigeria.
Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, AFN president said yesterday at the formal hand-over of the cheque to the African 100m record holder in Lagos that “Fasuba has no intention to dump Nigeria for any reason.”
The former Commonwealth Games silver medallist now in charge of Nigerian track and field business further insisted that Nigeria’s preparations to win the next All Africa Games was on track following gestures from corporate bodies like Skye Bank.
“Unlike in the past when there were so many misgivings about giving out money to officials, now we are saying sponsors should pick athletes and sponsor their programmes directly. You can see the transparency in this Skye Bank package with Fasuba. We have given the bank Fasuba’s account numbers for the money to be wired directly to him in Greece,” observed the AFN chief.
Alhaji Suleiman Baba-Alli, managing director of Team Nigeria Trust Fund Limited while also speaking on the training grant expressed surprise at the quick response of Skye Bank to the sponsorship appeal.
“When we took up the Fasuba’s case we knew it was very urgent and needed quick intervention. We are glad that Skye Bank responded within 48 hours of our appeal. This is a sign of commitment and social responsiveness. We are indeed very grateful,” observed the Team Nigeria boss.
Fasuba was initially programmed to return to Nigeria next week but with this $10,000 life line from the bank, AFN officials are now relieved that the African champion can continue his training unhindered till May - a few weeks to the All Africa Games in Algiers.
Dotun Adeniyi, General Manager of Skye Bank, who stood in for the managing director, described Fasuba as a worthy Nigerian brand that ought to be celebrated.
“I see no reason why we should not celebrate Fasuba. We believe that the money will help his training to do Nigeria proud,” he said.