Clash in date between National Trials and Eid el Kabir, not deliberate, says AFN President

As Nesiama promises exciting trials

President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Tonobok Okowa says the clash in date of the 2024 AFN national trials in Benin City and the Eld el Kabir celebration is a pure coincidence and not deliberate.

The national trials will be used to select the nation’s athletes for the African Senior Athletics Championships in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris Olympics Games.

The Athletics Federation had earlier scheduled it’s national trials for June 26 to 28 to meet the Olympics qualification deadline which is the midnight of June 29, only for the Confederations of African Athletics (CAA) to move the date for the African Senior Championships in Douala backward to June 21 to 26.

“The change in date of the African Senior Athletics Championships to June 21 to 26 affected our original plans for the AFN national trials, and I hope our Muslim brothers and sisters will see reasons with us for this coincidental clash in the date with the Eid el Kabir celebration,” Okowa told AFN Media.

“We held several meetings and did a lot of calculations trying to push the date forward from clashing with the Eld el Kabir celebration, but things didn’t work. The major reason being that the NCAA season will end in the United States on June 8 and majority of our athletes will leave for their various bases within the United States the following day that’s June 9,“ Okowa added.

“They will rest for just one or two days, and depart United States on June 12 or June 13 to arrive in Nigeria on June 14 or 15.

The President went on to explain that, “It is going to be a very tight schedule for the athletes, but there is nothing the Federation can do about it because we are using the AFN national trials to select ‘Team Nigeria’ athletes for the African Senior Championships in Douala.”

“As soon as the National Trials ends in Benin City on June 18, those who made the team will head to Lagos to catch their flight to Cameroon.
“The clash in date with the Eld el Kabir celebration is not deliberate but a coincident. We have explained the situation to the athletes, particularly our beloved Muslim brothers and sisters and they see reasons with us,” Okowa stated.

In a related development, the Chairman of AFN’s Competitions Committee, Commodore Omatseye Nesiama ( rtd) says the 2024 National Trials in Benin City would be different from the previous edition in terms of thrills and glamour that will accompany it.

“This is the year of Olympics Games, it is the third time we are holding this national trials at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
” It is a coincidence that this year’s edition is going to clash with the Eld el Kabir celebration, but the AFN will make it very unique by deploying everything into it for sports lovers within Benin City and it’s environs to enjoy the three days of athletics carnival at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium,” Nesiama said.

The Chairman of AFN’s Competitions Committee further emphasized that the program for the national trails has been adjusted to accommodate Muslim faithfuls

“We have taken cognisance of the Eid celebration by making the morning of Day 2 of the trials free to enable our Muslim faithfuls observe their prayers.
Events originally meant for the morning of Day 2 have been shifted to other times,” the former Military Chief explained.

Invitation for the trials has been extended to States Athletics Associations, Military and the Para-Military Organisations, all Institutions and Athletics Clubs.

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