As the football season comes to a close in many parts of the world, sports enthusiasts are switching gears and exploring other avenues. For some, it’s car racing or tennis, but for others, it’s delving into the rich history of sports diplomacy. Nigerian sports, in particular, suffer from a lack of proper documentation of the country’s sports history, which is where AirPeace Airline Chairman, Dr. Allen Onyema, comes in. Onyema, a former athlete himself, is passionate about the welfare of retired and ageing athletes and wants to celebrate forgotten sports heroes.
On July 28th, 2023, a world-exclusive conversation with Onyema will be published and broadcasted on the global information superhighway. The conversation will focus on the re-unification of the great Sports Diplomacy heroes of Nigeria, including the 1976 Olympic Contingent in Athletics, the 1976 Green Eagles to Montreal ’76, and the 1980 African Cup of Nations Squad.
The significance and impact of these contingents are diplomatic, hence the location of the activities within the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, and not the Ministry of Sports. The goal is to honor, appreciate, celebrate, immortalize, and reward forgotten sports heroes, and to kick-start a solid and sustainable link between West Africa and the Carribeans through sports. The collaboration between these two regions shall birth a new relationship between old ‘blood brothers’ separated by the Slave Trade centuries ago.
By delving into history, celebrating forgotten sports heroes, and using sports as a main ingredient, we can create a social, cultural, and economic ecosystem. This will build a common front and agenda, and come together as one to the table of civilizations, as equal partners, in an emerging new world order. The cement is sport, and it can take us back to our roots, find common grounds of interest, raise ‘dead bones,’ and breathe new life into them.
- In conclusion, July 28th, 2023, is a day to step backward and see farther ahead in Nigerian sports. It’s a day to celebrate forgotten sports heroes, build a solid and sustainable link between West Africa and the Carribeans through sports, and create a social, cultural, and economic ecosystem. It’s a day to honor the past, celebrate the present, and build a better future for Nigerian sports.