WANTED: Foreign Minister of Sports

DG NSC welcoming Eric Campel to Nigeria as Minister watches with glee.   PHOTO: Gongnews.net

DG NSC welcoming Eric Campel to Nigeria as Minister watches with glee. PHOTO: Gongnews.net


The uproar has just begun as the National Sports Commission decided to appoint two foreigners as directors to their yet to be ready high performance center. Angie Taylor and Eric Campbell were both unveiled last week in Abuja. Angie with a very modest athletics career where post college all she can boast of is being in the finals of the US trials in heptathlon is to oversee five sports, athletics, weight lifting, wrestling, boxing and taekwondo in the high performance center. While Eric Campbell who has a near zero history as a track athlete is to over see athletics.

This is sad that the Ministry is just going for foreign personnel to take the jobs that people at home can do. The coaches at home are uneasy and angry, and the thinking now is that since nobody is good enough for Nigeria, we may as well get a foreign Minister.

Our history of going foreign are legendary, even when we have the materials at home. Stephen Keshi is fighting the NFF  almost on a daily basis. Even till today, there is still talk of bringing in a foreign technical adviser for the Super Eagles. It beats me funny when I hear that Angie Taylor will oversee wrestling….When we have Olympic Gold medalist, commenwealth Gold medalist and World wrestling Hall of fame awardee Daniel Igali on our shores. Who is Eric Campbell. He has no record as an athlete of repute and has a level 2 USTAF coaching certificate. We have many of those in Nigeria (its equivalent to IAAF level 3). We even have level 5 coaches in Nigeria, we have young bright coaches that have been reccommended by the IAAF for level four and five so it is shameful that we spend millions bringing in foreign “coaches.”

Trust me, I will be bringing you all their credentials and the feelings from our coaches…I was actually a training partner to Eric Campbell’s brother Milton Campbell. He was a very accomplished athlete internationally, especially indoors in the 400m.


10 thoughts on “WANTED: Foreign Minister of Sports

  1. Thank you Enee for starting this blog! I will be coming here like everyday. I believe we share the same ideology as regards sports. my only hope is that you wont be blogging only about athletics.

  2. It is surely a shame of astonishing magnitude that our “leaders” have this funny mentality that our own persons aint ever good enough to handle our own issues. As sad as it is,this “oyinbo” mentality cuts across all spheres of governance and is fast becoming the norm. There is no harm in having a foreign technocrat take up a position in this country if we have exhausted our own resource bank here and couldn’t find someone really qualified for the post,but its an insult on our national mentality and a slap on our prestige as a giant in all spheres (except ofcourse in our leadership) when we bring next to Mediocre to com and head experts here who know far more than the foreign technocrat can ever hope to know thereby making our own feel like second class citizens in their own land. It is a shame. When we have coaches that despite all odds still produce athletes that can still hold their own even in the international scene and all our “ogas” can think of is how to get a “foreign expert” that can do the job and will gladly pay him or her millions and in dollars,and after blundering around without any positive result,will just pack their bags and leave and the nation is the poorer and no wiser for it. Their are coaches in this country who if given one-tenth of what is been given to these supposed foreign experts will do wonders,but instead of even trying to encourage the little efforts they are making are frustrated out of the system through senseless bureaucratic processes. It is until we learn to appreciate the good heads we have in this country that we can truly move forward as a country. God save us from “ourselves”.

  3. Eric Campbell’s Profile

    Please point me to a Nigerian Athletics coach who has this profile:

    Eric Campbell will begin his fourth season as head coach of the Panthers in 2012 after six seasons as an assistant coach with the GSU. Campbell works primarily with the sprinters in addition to his work as head coach.

    In his nine years at Georgia State Campbell has enjoyed considerable success with the Panthers as he has coached seven national qualifers, 42 conference champions, 74 regional qualifiers in 102 events and 72 all-conference performers.

    In 2011 the women’s track and field squad won the program’s first conference championship as they scored 133 points, a new school record. Five individuals won conference titles, including senior Yolanda Berryhill, who won both the shot put and discus titles, and junior Angelia Nugent, who won the long and triple jump crowns. In all eight individuals and one relay team were named All-CAA in 11 events.

    Six women’s track and field student-athletes earned invitations to the NCAA East Regionals, with Nugent advancing to the National Championships in the triple jump.

    His athletes have also broken 60 school records, while 18 of the 23 women’s event records and nine of the 19 men’s event records have been set during Campbell’s coaching years.

    “My ultimate goal as coach is to help all my student-athletes reach their potential as both GSU students and athletes,” said Campbell.

    In his ten-year tenure with the track squad the women’s team has improved consistently, as evidenced by the Panthers scoring 120 points, a school record, at the CAA Championships in 2009 in finishing third. 2009 also saw nine athletes advance to NCAA Regionals in eight events, including Tamika Kinchen’s appearance in the NCAA Nationals in the 800m.

    Campbell also helped Kinchen sweep the 800 and 1,500m at the 2010 CAA Championship. Kinchen holds the school record in both categories. Senior Kendra LaFleur won the 100-meter dash to highlight a strong CAAs for the sprinters.

    On the men’s side the team had two All-CAA performers in 2009 with Mark Steeds (1,500m) and Joe DeVito (800m) earning all-conference accolades. Steeds was a three-time all-conference athlete in the 1,500m and an one-time all-conference performer in the 5,000m.

    The Panthers have also performed academically in Campbell’s years as head coach. His teams routinely post overall semester GPA’s over 2.9, while individually Yolanda Berryhill and Brandy Swann had perfect 4.0 GPAs in the fall of 2010. Berryhill racked up the academic honors as a senior, being named CoSIDA Academic All-District III first team, Capital One Academic All-America® Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country third team and CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s track and field.

    Besides his duties with the Panthers, Campbell is the founder, owner and CEO of The Professional Athlete Training Academy (TPA) a company that trains track and field athletes. The company, which was founded in 2000, has helped train several Olympic athletes reach the highest level.

    Along with his duties with TPA, Campbell is the National Team Coach and Director of Jr./Youth Development for Saudi Arabia. Here he oversees the program and coaches the team at various international meets throughout the year when the Panthers are not performing on the track.

    The Atlanta, Ga., native is Level II certified in sprints and hurdles.

    Campbell attended Atlanta’s own Frederick Douglass High School. Following graduation Campbell attended Howard and Morris Brown and majored in architecture engineering while competing in track and field and cross country.

    Prior to coaching at Georgia State, Campbell was a sprint coach with Quicksilver T.C., from 1995-2002, and Benjamin E. Mays High School from 1997-1999.

    He is married to Tracie Campbell. The couple married in 2000 and have three children, Mariama, Olivia and Sophia.

    • OGA…you seem quite ignorant. Eric only coached college and Saudi Arabia U-19 Boys team.one simple example..i do not need to go far..
      Innocaent Egbunike:

      Coach of Angelo Taylor, the gold medalist in the 400m hurdles at the 2008 Olympics
      Coach of the Nigerian track and field team at the 1996, 2000, and 2008 Olympics
      Coach of Chris Brown, the fourth-place finisher in the 400m at the 2008 Olympic Games
      Coached Davidson Ezinwa 9.91
      Coached Tyree Washington 20.09
      Solomon Wariso 44.67
      Mikey Grimes 10.00 2007
      Head Coach 2008 Nigeria Olympics

      • F–k the Eric Campbell’s CV and mini autobiography!!! Are you now comparing Nigerian track and field to any college program or under 19 boys team?… This is just pure shame on the decision makers that hired incompetent foreign coaches.

  4. Thank you for bringing this to light Enee, the penchant for our sports administrators to drool and genuflect before foreign coaches simply because they are .. well, foreign, is nauseating and symptomatic of people who are still mentally imprisoned by neo-colonialism.

    They are the same people who would deny Stephen Keshi his due salaries for bringing us honours that the useless foreign coaches they employed for double the cost could never deliver. I had great hope in Bolaji Abdullahi, not anymore. He has proven to be as weak and rudderless as his predecessors.

  5. The problem with Nigeria is the perrenial inclination for new Ministers, Officers etc in all spheres to jettison what their predecessors developed or planned. This is why Nigeria has been running on the spot since Independence. There have been numerous studies, commissions and blueprints developed, detailing how we can deliver “podium success” (to use the Minister’s words) from our athletes, but NONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED to the letter! Every time we look for short term solutions to long term problems, and we are surprised when what we do doesn’t deliver the desired results! I can sit here in 2013 and write you the names of the 8 men and 8 women who will line up for the 100m finals in Rio Olympics in 2016 and come that day, my list would not vary by more than 1 or 2 names! Those who are going to win medals in 2016 are already known which is why there isnt much of an element of surprise in the medallists any more. The surprise is usually when a gold medal prospect is usurped by a silver or bronze medal prospect! Those who will win medals in 2020 Olympics (7 years from now) are already running the juniors (they are in all likelyhood between 14 and 17 years now) and will be ready by then!

    So given the above, I really do not know what podium success these 2 foreigners are to deliver – 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2015 All Africa Games or 2016 Olympics? What joke! In anycase, it is quite possible that both Minister and DG would not be occupying their positions by then, so I wonder what will happen to those contracts?

    By the way, how are these foreign imports supposed to handle these assignments? Are these assignments administrative or technical? If administrative, what then is the job of the DG of the Commission if we have now appointed a Director of the National Performance centre tomanage the administration of the centre? Is NSC not supposed to oversee the Federations developing and managing such programmes o deliver “podium success”? Is the DG not the administrative head of the NSC? What will he be doing now that someone else is doing his job? What will the secretary of the AFN be doing now that Campbell is doing his/her job? What about Chief Solomon Ogba? What is his role now that Campbell is in charge of developing athletes so to speak? Our coaches? The AFN tTechnical Director? And so on and so forth! Did anybody think this through properly before taking this decision? What a joke!

    As I told a few people, it is not yet uhuru for sports, as long as we continue to insist on appointing all manners of unqualified people to serve a myriad of personal interests to the detriment of the sports sector. As long as the people we appoint do not understand the fundamental principles involved in organising the sports sector in the first case, we would continue to womble and fumble (in the words of the World Cup winning coach- Fanny Amun) to whatever successes we get! In any case, in a country of 160 million people, some talent will come through every once in a while to defy the odds of our bad planning! Isn’t that the basis of the few successes we have recorded in sports? A hit-or-miss strategy based on our huge population churning out the odd talent who will defy the odds at great personal costs and deliver a medal (whatever shade)!

    Please while we are at it, let’s also get a Foreign President, Foreign Governors, Foreign Ministers, Foreign Legislators, etc. since all sectors of our economy are as poorly developed as the sports sector! Shame!

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