If nothing tangible is not put in place for the Athletes that will represent the Federal Capital Territory at the forthcomg 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo, state, the team FCT may take the back position.
It is no longer news that Team FCT in the past two national sporting events, broke records as they achieved their best podium finishes in two different national sporting events.
But as for the case of the forthcoming event in Edo, there is no preparation insight as FCT Administration is yet to approve fund for the athletes to start preparation.
First was at the 2018 National Sports Festival, NSF hosted by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports at the FCT, Abuja.
Team FCT recorded a podium finsh of 7th, the best ever record it has attained in the festival.
In 2019, the younger athletes followed the path of their elder ones by recording a podium finish of 9th at the recently concluded 5th National Youth Games, NYG in Ilorin, Kwara state.
These two podium finishes placed FCT as the best sporting state in the entire northern zones of the country.
Ordinarily, one had expected that the Team FCT athletes or rather contingents to these two national sporting events should be treated as heroes and heroines. Unfortunately, this was never to be.
While other states which did not measure up to Team FCT’s heroics accorded their contingents befitting recognition, the Minister of FCT has decided to ignore, abando and neglect theses great achievers.
Facts emerged that Team FCT at the events were the most neglected and least motivated side. And this was made possible by no less a scenario than lack of release of funds by the FCT Minister.
Like Michael Phelps pointed out, these athletes faced obstacles. People doubted them but with hard work, they hard no limits in what they achieved.
Faced with this total neglect by the FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, who had won the Best Minister Award recently in the country due to his prudence in managing resources and returning unspent budgets to the federal coffers, many of the athletes who represented Team FCT at the two competitions have switched allegiance to other states.
FCT has for the past few year lost over 30 athletes to other states due primarily to lack of motivation and the inability of the FCT ministry to apply reward system for the athletes.
Some of these athletes who spoke over the development were full of regrets for “wasting their time” with Team FCT.
One of the athletes who currently competes for Delta state after leaving FCT in 2018, was furious over the neglect he suffered while competing for Team FCT.
He explained that the two states – Delta and FCT cannot be compared with when it comes to taking care of athletes’ welfare both during and after competitions.
“To be honest with you, I wasted my time competing for Team FCT. They do not know anything about reward system. Reward system is most effective in sports and any administrator who fails to implement this policy does not want his athletes to succeed.
“I competed for Team FCT from the National Youth Games to the National Sports Festival but the motivation was never there. They do not motivate their athletes.
“In most of the competitions, funds meant for them were released weeks after the competitions. Athletes are not taken care of. They compete hungry, abandoned and most times the minister does not see the need to host these athletes after events.
“How do you want them to perform for you in the next edition? This is not acceptable.
“I switched to competing for Delta because I lost interest in representing Team FCT year in, year out yet without recognition.
“What will it cost the FCT minister to host the athletes who did wonderfully well at the NSF and NYG respectively and appreciate them for their efforts?
“Sports is an investment and if you are not ready to invest heavily, you will never be there. That is why you cannot compare Delta State with FCT when it comes to investment and athletes’ welfare.
“Delta won the NSF in Abuja last year they also won the NYG in Ilorin this year and going by the way they are taking care of their athletes, no state will challenge them in Edo next year, ” he said.