AS the controversy that greeted the appointment of John Obi Mikel as captain of Team Nigeria to the Rio Olympics is yet to die  down, the Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Comrade Tunde Popoola has stated in unambiguous terms that neither he, nor the organisation he represents, the NOC were aware of the captain’s appointment. When asked if he was aware that Mikel Obi had been named as captain of Team Nigeria, Popoola, who was answering questions from reporters in his office, said, “that is speculation. I am not aware.” Popoola’s answer clearly portrays the fact that Mikel’s captaincy was a creation of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development as the NOC was not contacted for the all-important appointment. This is against the norm as the appointment of captain of Team Nigeria is usually a consensus between the Ministry and the NOC which is the facilitator of Team Nigeria’s participation in the Olympics. In the heat of the controversy that trailed Mikel’s appointment Tuesday, immediate past spokesman of the NOC, Tony Nezianya told Sports Vanguard that the appointment of the country’s team captain is usually preceded by a meeting between the ministry and the NOC. Said he, “The NOC and the Ministry of Sports work as partners. Matters like that are discussed behind closed doors before such announcements are made. I am not competent to say anything on this because I do not know whether the ministry and the NOC agreed before the announcement.”

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