A former senator representing Kaduna Central district at the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has blamed officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for the embarrassment faced by Nigeria’s athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
He said this after German sportswear manufacturing company Puma announced the termination of their kits contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
The company blamed the termination on the failure of Nigerian athletes to wear the kits in line with the provisions of the contract.
Nigeriana had reported that the contract termination comes a few hours after a trending video showed Nigeria’s shot put medal hopeful, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, washing his jersey ahead of his final game at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The caption in the video indicated that the athlete was given one jersey for the competition.
“When you made the Olympic Finals, but you only have one jersey,” he wrote.
Also, eyebrows were raised following different attire worn by members of the Team Nigeria contingent in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Shehu Sani posted on Facebook, “PUMA donated these $2.7 million kits freely to Nigeria and offered to financially reward our medal-winning athletes. Our officials rejected them and preferred to use public funds to purchase from other sources. Now our Athletes are embarrassed in Tokyo.”
The German company announced the termination of the four-year deal in a letter dated August 4, which was signed by PUMA’s Director Manuel Edlheimb and made available to our correspondent by the Director-General of the Ibrahim Gusau-led AFN, Siminilaye Pepple.
“We are referring to the licensing and sponsoring agreement signed between our company and your federation.
“As a direct consequence of the recent developments, particularly at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 and pursuant to clauses 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement, we hereby terminate the Agreement with immediate effect.
“PUMA especially declares to be discharged from any or all obligations towards all stakeholders involved and reserves all rights against these entities and individuals,” Edlheimb was quoted as saying in the statement.
The AFN under Gusau had entered the $2.76m deal with Puma on July 24, 2019, in Doha, but the controversial contract is one of the major causes of the crisis rocking the AFN, which had split the athletics body into two factions, with both Gusau and his vice president Sunday Adeleye accused of sidelining other members of the board during the signing of the deal.
The sports ministry insisted that Team Nigeria athletes were not going to use Puma kits at the ongoing Olympic Games despite the Gusau group sending them to Tokyo.