Asaba shame: Kalkaba, please borrow honour, resign now


Kenyan athletes at the Lagos airport…expensive refugees courtesy of Kalkaba’s CAA
Please whoever has the contacts to the President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Colonel Hamad Malboum Kalkaba, should find the nearest market in Asaba, buy a piece of white handerchief, a mark of honour, and donate to him. Ask him to wipe his face clear and pick a white piece of paper to resign. He has failed.
How CAA secretariat fumbled and wobbled: Five times he led delegations to Asaba to check all the structures that the LOC has put in place for this badly organised showpiece he has given to Africa. Kalkaba and his staff repeatedly told us each time that all is well. They even told us of a world ranked championship. Truly, it is a world lowly ranked championship. He has reduced top African athletes to refugees in our own land. CAA had repeatedly worked with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) led by his friend, Solomon Ogba.
Reports from Lagos and Asaba are so bitter to the eyes, ears and good brains. Yes, we are Africans but we are not this backward! The 21st Africa Athletics championships has demonstrated the poorest organisation I know.
Teams that were to start competing Wednesday in Asaba are still in transit thus threatening the five day old championship. What a shame!
Time become greatest enemy of organisers: The competition venue named after former Nigerian captain and coach, Stephen Keshi Stadium, has no functioning floodlights. This has led to the scrapping of the evening programme. This would mean squeezing the programme or extending the days.
By 10:00am on Wednesday, delegations and journalists are eagerly waiting for the start lists of the day one competition! Is this not disgracing?
Protocol is first failure: Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei told journalists: “sad indeed. We have tried with the Local Organising Committee here in Asaba with a lot of frustrations and lack of decision. The competition delegate seems to have given up. Now the case has been presented to the CAA Council.”
His athletes were pictured having the gift of sleep in the most awkward of places – Lagos airport.
First signature is protocol. Led by Chief Falilat Ogunkoya. They failed flat.
They could not accommodate delegations on special charter flights from Lagos’ Murtala Mohammed International Airport to the Asaba local airport. All that would have been done is to do chartered flights or provide airconditioned buses that would have ferried delegations by road.
Athletics Kenyan team had a first batch of 22 athletes, one third of the party, finally departing Lagos for Asaba at about 4pm Tuesday after a 24-hour wait!
Was planning a stranger to Asaba? Arriving delegations concluded at the DRM meetings were unable to be accommodated at airport hotels that were struggling with the massive numbers of arriving teams as if they never knew how many people were arriving. Sign of inadequate or no planning at all.
11 nations got stranded in Lagos at the same time, including South Africa, Egypt Burkina Faso, Kenya and Botswana.
And with the backlog running as much as three days back, the chartered flights have been unable to meet demand with luggage either lost or misplaced in the ensuing melee. Even Nigerian athletes arriving from United States of America had their share of the pains and troubles.
Ethiopian delegation was contemplating an alternative route on their own bill that would see them travel on a scheduled flight to Enugu and then connect via a two-hour road journey to Asaba. What a disgrace to the efforts of the host Delta State?
Kalkaba has been able to give Africa one of the most poorly organised high profile track and field competitions. Can we all rise and give this Cameroonian a round of applause. Thanks. (

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