AFA Sports, the brand that provided kits for the country’s contingent to Tokyo, on Thursday celebrated ‘the Nigerian spirit as shown by the athletes at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.’
Speaking in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of AFA Sports, Ugo Udezue, said as a former national athlete, he could identify with the aspiration of those who represented the country in Tokyo and also feel their pains. He added that he believes that the future remains still bright for the athletes and Nigerian sports.
Udezue said: “They all arrived in Tokyo with the determination to do the country proud and they have been able to put in their best. Every event has just medals for the top three athletes but the spirit of the games is to compete spiritedly and respectfully.
“To those who have finished their term at this stage, we say congratulations and for those looking forward to Paris 2024, we stand by you all the way.”
He expressed delight that the continent was able to take a huge position at the Olympics with AFA Sports being the first wholly African manufacturer to kit a national delegation at the Games.
Udezue also thanked Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, the Federal Government, the NOC and the athletes for daring to support the growth of indigenous firms.
“The sports ministry canvassed the country for a local kit manufacturer from Aba to Lagos. They visited over 10 operations and AFA stood out. That was how we became a part of the big dream.
“We did not solicit for this. The administration was determined on using the Olympic platform to promote local brands and this is all good for the Nigerian industry.
“I never met the sports minister until this time and the inspection was practically impromptu and so we were seen as we are.
He and his team were armed with the right questions. He personally researched every fabric and every product.”
I was impressed with his knowledge and the due diligence followed.
“This is how AFA Sports became the apparel partner to the Nigerian team. We believe in the long-term plan to make AFA Sports and other Nigerian manufacturers world brands. We may not all be counting in millions of dollars now, but we are determined to empower Nigerians in our production, distribution, sales and other opportunities in a way no foreign outfit would do.”