The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) says it will plead with the organisers of the 2019 African Senior Wrestling Championships in Tunisia to give it a special concession to register its players for the championship, which the country is the defending champion.
The NWF could not meet Tuesday’s deadline for registration of wrestlers, as it could not get the funds for the exercise. But following assurances yesterday by the Ministry of Sports that it would sponsor the team, the body said it would seek the organisers’ permission to register its 20 athletes for the competition slated for Hammamet later this month.
Speaking on the latest development, NWF President, Daniel Igali said, “I spoke with the Permanent Secretary of the Sports Ministry (Adesola Olusola) and he made a verbal commitment that the Ministry will sponsor 18 athletes to the competition.
“The onus now lies on the federation to source for funds to enable us get the licenses of the athletes and their accommodation fees.
“We are in a very difficult situation right now, but I will try to persuade the Tunisian Wrestling Federation to give us a further 48 hours extension to register our athletes.”
Igali also informed that as a result of the stringent financial situation, the NWF would only send 20 athletes to the competition.
As hosts in 2018, Nigeria paraded 90 athletes at the tournament in Port Harcourt, featuring a wrestler in all the weight classes in the cadet, junior and senior levels.
Failure to participate in the African Championships, which runs from March 26 to 31, will automatically deny Nigeria a chance of featuring at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in September because the tournament in Tunisia serves as a qualifier for the event.