The choice of veteran athletics coach, Tobias Igwe for the National Sports Development Funds Incorporated cannot be overemphasised. Toblow as he is fondly called groomed many Nigerian sprinters who have gone ahead to do well on the world stage.
One would have been quick to attribute his appointment by NSDFI as a way to compensate him for the ill-treatment meted out to him by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Governor Theodore Orji in the past administration. But Director General of NSDFI, Olajide Fashikun believes Igwe’s appointment was about ”if the cap fits, wear it”
“We are working with the AFN and the choice of a coach was made by the AFN President and why he chose him I don’t know. We understand he is a very good coach and brought up our own technical director, Mary Onyali and we agreed with the federation and that’s how it all came up.”
Fashikun also stated Igwe’s roles at the Nigeria Sports Development Funds Incorporated (NSDFI).
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“Coach Tobias is the technical director of the developmental centre and every other coach from the 6 communities in Ondo will be reporting to him. He is not actually for just athletics but for the NSDFI.”
“He is to guide them on how to work with children and women because coaching women and children is a different ball game entirely so we needed somebody who had the knowledge of what it takes to manage this fragile population. If a child makes a mistake and a coach mistakenly shouts at him or her that might be the end and the child may not recover again. So we needed a coach who has the experience and can guide other coaches to do the job.”
Toblow was among the non-indigenes disengaged while working for Abia State Sports Ministry. He worked as an athletics coach during his 13 year stay but was asked to leave 3 years to his retirement without any gratuity or pension.
Reacting to Igwe’s plight, the former handball international described it as a cankerworm which has eaten deep into Nigeria sports.
“It is now a generic issue in our country not recognising our heroes. In November 1988, while playing a junior championship for Nigeria, I lost my thumb if not for my club I won’t have been able to come back to handball. With our project ongoing, we are sure of bringing a complete change to the country.” He concluded his chat with ACLSports.com