By SundiataPOST, Abuja
The National Sports Commission (NSC) on Tuesday in Abuja announced the appointment of two Americans as National Performance Director and Athletics Performance Director for five sports federations in the country.
The experts, Angie Taylor and Eric Campbell, are to develop high performance programmes in athletics, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing and taekwondo.
NAN, however, reports that the NSC failed to announce the financial implication of the contract or how long the appointments would last.
Taylor, a former coach of the University of Minnesota, had also worked with the United States track and field, while Campbell was the Athletics Head Coach of Georgia State University.
The Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, while presenting the experts to the media in his office, said the recruitment was geared toward enhancing the growth of Nigerian sports.
“The role of Angie Taylor is that of a national performance director to put together and run a high performance programme that can deliver podium success for Nigeria at global competition.
“This will be carried out in athletics, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing and taekwondo.
“The job of Eric Campbell as the performance director of athletics is to work with Taylor to design and run a programme for athletics, specifically that will deliver podium success in that sport.
“What we are doing today is revolutionary and we are confident that this will go down as a turning point in the history of sports in Nigeria,’’ Abdullahi said.
According to him, the NSC has also put in place technical facilities that will be required to drive the process of high performance system.
The minister said that the move was expected to start yielding positive results from the Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, next year.
“We believe that starting with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, we will begin to see a manifestation of this process.
“It is not going to be a bullet effect but we are going to start gradually to build from the grassroots level, a consistent and sustainable system that will turn talents into champions.
“With the roadmap we are laying out, we are going to turn things around.’’
He said “we will deliver on the mandate President Jonathan has set for us to be the best in Africa and among the best in the world.’’
Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Director-General of the NSC, said the development was a new beginning for the country’s sports after its disgraceful outing at the London 2012 Olympics.
Elegbeleye said the process would enable Nigeria to midwife, harness and nurture its abundant talents.
“We thank God that Nigeria is doing very well in football and this is an attempt to face other areas we know we have potential of becoming world champions,’’ he said.
Responding, Taylor assured that Nigeria could be a powerhouse going by the numerous talents at its disposal.
“We want to show the rest of the world that Nigeria has the talent to rule the world,’’ she said.
Campbell on his part said Nigeria had the best potential in athletics going by the countries he had worked with.
He gave assured that the glory days of athletics in Nigeria would be restored as he hope to replicate the success of athletics in the U.S., in Nigeria.