The great accomplishments exhibited by African athletes who have since relocated to foreign countries in the Rio Olympic games has elicited mixed reactions. Many African countries are losing talented athletes to other countries such as Israel, US, Canada and Turkey as the athletes feel that their talent is not appreciated and rewarded at home. Foreign countries are importing and paying African athletes well and using them as brand ambassadors.
Kenya’s Ruth Jebet, ran for Bahrain and won a gold medal in the 3000 meters race. Kenya’s Mike Kipruto Kigen, a well known athlete is now running for Turkey. Nigeria’s Francis Obekweru switched his nationality to Portugal and has won several medals for Portugal. Nigeria’s Femi Ogunode is in Qatar, Ezinne Okparaebo in Norway and Abubakar Abbas in Bahrain flourishing and doing exploits.
The athletes have chosen between representing their countries and continue suffering or relocating to adopting countries in Europe and the Middle East who dangle a basket of goodies.
It is sad to see Africa’s legendary sports heroes languish in poverty, only to be feted at death. In Ethiopia, most athletes are allegedly discriminated against on clan lines. Other issues ailing Africa’s sports sector include; inefficiency in managing sports, poor training facilities and lack of support after getting injury.
The sports sector in Africa needs to hold a stakeholders meeting to address the challenges ailing the sports sector. This will raise more talent in sports, make sports lucrative and ensure that athletes get value for their talent.
By Monicah Nyaga