President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali has said he is optimistic Team Nigeria will excel at the forth-coming 2018 African Wrestling Championships...

 President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali has said he is optimistic Team Nigeria will excel at the forth-coming 2018 African Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt.

About 90 (Cadet, Junior, and Senior) wrestlers expected to represent Nigeria at the tournament have been preparing in separate camps in Akure, Port Harcourt, and Yenagoa ahead of the Championships to be staged at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre in the Garden City from 7th to 11th February 2018.

With the level of preparations so far, the Bayelsa State Lawmaker told NWF Media he is confident the team will be ready to do the country proud next month.

“From the reports I’ve received from the coaches and the Technical Director, It appears the camps have been going on well,” the Olympic gold medalist said.

“I’m in Yenagoa, so, I sometimes make out time to see the female athletes, and I think their training is going on pretty well in Yenagoa.

“I’m sure from all the reports and personal experiences, we are good to go.”

At the last African Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2017, Nigeria emerged the best female side, winning 9 of available 10 gold medals. And Igali is looking forward to such dominance from the female team.

“I hope they (female team) do; that’s my prayer for them and that’s why our preparation is key.

“I don’t believe in luck. So I’m hoping that with the number of preparations we’ve been having here, they will be able to replicate their performances in Marrakech.”

In order to achieve huge success at the African Championships in Port Harcourt, the NWF boss said Team Nigeria will maintain the level of their preparation while demanding a 100% effort from the wrestlers.

“I think we need to continue with what we are doing,” he said.

“This week I think will be a very critical week because we need to start looking at putting finishing touches on the tournament.

“When you are training at this level, the second week of a tournament is a critical week because you need to tie things up. The last week is normally not as serious anymore-it’s a taper week.

“If we continue with this trend, we should do well but putting up a 100% performance is all we need from them.

“What I’ve always told our athletes is ‘if you give 100% effort in your endeavours on the mat, the results will come’,” he concluded.

Nigeria will be parading an unprecedented 90-man team at the 2018 African Wrestling Championships which it will be hosting for the first time in the history of the competition.

Nurudeen Adegbenro