Despite huge logistical challenges, the Delta State city of Asaba is somewhat ready to welcome athletes for the 21st Africa Athletics Championships that will kick off this week Wednesday at the refurbished Stephen Keshi Stadium.
The Murtalla Mohammed Airport in Lagos was on Sunday one of the populous Nigeria’s busiest addresses as teams continued to pour in for the August 1-5 championships.
Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei was among Sunday’s arrivals along with Kenya’s technical officials led by AK’s Coast branch chairman Dimmy Kisalu.
Athletes from Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan and a refugees team were among the arrivals on Sunday.
With Nairobi granting free visas for athletes, media and officials arriving for last year’s IAAF World Under-18 Championships, everyone coming into Nigeria is not enjoying such largesse, with “visa on arrival” charges being $25 (Sh2,500).
A delay by the Nairobi-Lagos Kenya Airways flight KQ532 on Sunday meant scores of athletes, officials and journalists arriving in Lagos on that flight missed their connecting flight to Asaba city which is just over 400 kilometres away.
At the main Murtalla Mohammed Airport in Lagos, there was no sign that Nigeria is hosting Africa’s elite athletes, a situation that would have been different had it been a football championship in this football-mad country.