Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why I Dumped Saudi Arabia For Nigeria-Osheku

Former Libya athletics Coach, Tony Osheku in this interview with okenaijaathletics, gave reasons why he shunned a mouth watering Saudi Arabia coaching job and return to Nigeria. He also spoke on his disappointment on Nigeria top athletes for shunning the first leg of the All Nigeria Relays in Ijebu Ode… 

What was the experience like coaching Libya?
It was fascinating being the Libyan Coach, the beginning was okay, I had a guy that did 44.9secs in Africa championships, he was among top 20 in the whole world and I will say the end was not rosy because of what happened to Gadaffi. Since then I have not gone back to Libya. All my stuffs are still in Libya. What I have been doing in the past was to meet them in neighboring countries like Morocco or Tunisia; I just decided not to go back there because you never can tell with those people.

Any job opportunity since you left Libya unceremoniously?

Yes, if you are not aware, I had a job opportunity from Saudi Arabia with all incentives and other things attached, but I said what is my gain after improving athletics in other lands and my country lags behind, I had to turn down the job. They asked me to meet one Prince Nawaf, but I’m kind of tired, I want to stay in my country , we have talents here, but if I’m in power I can show my stuff.

Why did you turn down the Saudi job and are you available if called by Nigeria?
For me, Nigeria comes first, I was well treated in Libya, they gave me a car, three bed-rooms flat and other incentives and Saudi Arabia want to do the same thing. I love this country, home is home and to answer your question on coaching Nigeria if called upon, the answer is yes I’m available.

What would be athletes’ expectations in competitions like the All Nigeria Relays?
For quarter-milers who are running the 600m, it’s like a build up to determine their strength. After this, the second leg will be in Warri where there will be field events. With what I saw in the AFN 2013 program, after Warri leg, the relays event will return but let me say it doesn’t make sense for athletes to stay idle without any meet. I’m happy the AFN organized a competition like the 4x100, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m 300m, 600m. It is a good development for the athletes. So far I will say I’m impressed with the way the athletes have competed.

Do you think the month of March is the best time for athletes to start running for the season?
What can we say; the youths just ended their first race in Lagos during the Dr. Olukoya U-18 Athletics Championship. For the seniors, they are just running the first race, I know Jamaicans and other countries have done three to four races, but the important thing is we have started. This part of the world is very warm, this is March and it is a good time to start and that is why they decided to run over-distance.

Why do you think Nigeria top athletes are refusing to do long distance races?
I’m kind of disappointed that most of our top athletes did not show up for the All Nigeria Relays, quarter-miler which is my specialty. The athlete from Dominican republic that won the silver medal in 400m at the last Olympics, Kirian James has already ran 400m in the indoors, also Warina who won Olympic gold has already ran three meets in the indoor. I see no reason why our top athletes should not be in Ijebu-Ode for the first relay race of the season.

This is March; we cannot wait because the World Championship is in August. If an athlete is not making it in March and it’s going to be difficult doing anything fantastic in August. I’m highly disappointed that they did not come here to race.

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