Long after some athletes have completed their events and left the Olympic village, kits for most of Nigeria’s team have finally landed in Brazil, according to reports from Vanguard, one of Nigeria’s major dailies. Without the kits, athletes had been forced to “buy kits” while “some athletes competed in their personal kits,” an official of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria told the newspaper.
The late delivery is just one of many mishaps in what has been a largely forgettable Olympics for Nigeria. Before the games, the country’s Olympic football team was stranded in Atlanta, USA, in the days leading up to the kickoff of the football event because the sports ministry had not paid for its travel arrangements. The team eventually landed in Rio only seven hours before its first game. Also, athletes were initially told to pay for their own flight tickets to Rio but that directive was reversed after social media outrage.
The opening ceremony also was awkward, as the Nigerian Olympics contingent were forced to line up in their tracksuits. The reason: outfits prepared for them had not made it to Rio.
Much of the blame for the error-strewn preparations has been pinned on Solomon Dalung, the country’s sports minister. Before the games, Dalung had set a target of 10 medals for the Olympic team but given the shoddy operations, no one is surprised that Nigeria has yet to win any medals.
Dalung and sports ministry officials may see political fallout for the failures in Rio, and the long-term consequences will likely include more Nigerian athletes switching nationalities to represent other countries.