By Albert Akota
Chairman of screening committee of the ongoing National School Sports Festival holding in Otukpo, Benue State, Samuel Abagi has described as successful the exercise which held yesterday and stretched into late evening. Although the exercise was not without its fair share of usual complaints by some states whose students were screened out, he said it went well because in school sports they discourage mercenaries.
He said what the committee did was to ensure that the NSSF stage a hitch–free games. According to him, the leadership of Nigeria School Sports Federation engaged himself a second vice president of the NSSF, some senior members of the National Sports Commission, Federal Ministry of Education and representatives of National Sports Federations to undertake the very important task of ensuring that only eligible students participate.
He said having conducted the screening exercise successfully on all participating athletes to arrive at students under the required age brackets to participate at the games, accreditation have also been done with hostilities underway. Abagi who made this known at the football pitch of Jesus College Otukpo, venue of the screening explained that NSSF does not take issues screening lightly so as to checkmate the eventuality of age cheating since the essence is ‘catch them young.’
But a member of Anambra State Schools Sport Committee, Anierobi Jekwu has faulted the screening method engaged by the NSSF claiming more women would have been involved in the screening exercise for the purpose of female athletes in order to easily ascertain their ages. He expressed displeasure that with the dearth of adequate facilities in Otukpo the students might not be in their best in terms of skills exhibition.