Talents discovered at the ongoing Nigeria University Games Association, NUGA Games will represent Nigeria at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in July.
This is according to the nation’s Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who also reiterated the need for a sports and university synergy.
Nigerian delegates to the 2021 Summer World University Games, Chengdu 2021 World University Games, scheduled to be held in Chengdu, Sichuan, China from 26 June to 7 July 2022 will also be selected from the NUGA games.
Dare who was speaking during the opening ceremony of the games at the weekend declared that “apart from the NYSC (Nigeria Youth Service Corps), the only other single largest collection of Nigerian youth can only be found in the Nigerian universities and on our campuses and also the bundle of talents when it comes to sports can also be found on our campuses.
“So I’m excited about NUGA games coming back live after almost seven years.
For us, as we prepare for the commonwealth games in the UK in July, we hope that some of those that will represent us in track and fields, boxing and wrestling will come from the NUGA Games 2022,” he added.
Asides exhibiting talents, the NUGA games has the ability to foster unity as noted by the speaker of Nigeria’s house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The speaker who is also an alumnus of the host, University of Lagos and who himself competed in Table Tennis and Swimming as a student, expects record breaking performances at the competition.
Mr. Gbajabiamila said “Sport has a way of bring people together.
I have seen men and women from all parts of the country, I have seen Muslims and Christians here tonight and even the traditional believers.
This is a melting point and this is what we need in Nigeria today, a unification of colours, unification of tribes, ethnicity and religion.
In that our strength will be unleashed to all the nations around the world.
“I believe that God in his wisdom created Nigeria with so many ethnic groups, languages and religions so that we can harness that those differences and bring them together to make Nigeria a great country”.
Quota System Killing Nigeran Sports
As athletes try to outdo one another for an opportunity to represent Nigeria at international competitions, sports administrators have been reminded of the need to select athletes based on merit rather than by sentiments.
Coach of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi’s men’s handball team, Adole Agaba, who is also a former Nigeria international, says quota system is killing the sports industry in the country as he calls for better welfare and motivation for Nigeria’s athletes if they are to excel at future tournaments.
Agaba says “a miserable coach is always going to give birth to a miserable team.
Without the coach a refree.
We go before peopke staking our intergrity before parents to release their children to come out. When we build up these teams someone will come like what uis happening with our football system that we don’t have a good U20 or U18 teams anymore. It is the quota system.
You must not be from my village to play in the national team and I must not come from your village to coach the national team or any club
If we are looking for results we must be faceless.
We look at the man that has the quality to deliver the goals.
These students are sacrificing their time and education to come and make a name but do we have room for scholarships for them just like the Americans will open their windows for basket ballers to go for scholarships and you see them playing very well there because they something backing them there.
A man cannot give his full output where there is no food and insurance,” he added.
Plans for the West Africa and African University Games
The University of Lagos has won the NUGA Games competition several times and this time their aim is to host and win the games.
Barring any challenges in future, the University of Lagos VC, Ogundipe predicts a successful completion of the 26th edition of the NUGA games and hopes to take it steps further by hosting the West African University Games and then the African University Games.
Unilag VC, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, far right, Sports minister, Sunday Dare, second right and guests at the NUGA Games opening ceremony
Unilag is hosting the games for fourth time, having initially hosted in 1968, in 1978 which they won, and in 1998.
Team UniLag came fourth with nine gold medals at the 25th edition of the games hosted by the University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
The tournament was won by the University of Port Harcourt, with 70 gold medals is the defending champion while the Ahmadu Bello University came second with 11 gold, while Benson Idahosa University came third with 10 gold medals at the 25th edition of the games.
The Nigerian University Games Association was formed in July 1965, shortly after the 1st West African University Games that was held at the University of Ibadan earlier that year.
In 1966, the first Nigerian University Games was held at the University of Ibadan and five Universities including the University of Ibadan participated at that time.
The universities are: University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Lagos, Akoka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Presently, there are over 80 Universities as members of NUGA and this cut across private and public (Federal and State) owned.
NUGA Games Talents to make Commonwealth Games Squard