X-raying The Impact Of General Hazem Hozny’s Visit On Nigerian Shooting Sport
By Eche, Amos
Without any iota of doubt, shooting sport in Nigeria has not been receiving the kind of support and respect it deserves from the powers that be in the country, owing to reasons best known to them.
Case in point: Shooting Sport was not included among sports that would feature at the somehow-botched 2020 Edo National Sports Festival, despite all efforts by the Board of the Nigerian Shooting Sport Federation, NSSF, to include the sport. Also, the sport receives close to nothing in funding to buy equipment, construct shooting ranges, host or even participate in championships, whether locally or internationally.
But the good news is that the visit of the African Shooting Sport Federation’s President, General Hazem Hosny, to Nigeria could spring up doors of opportunities for Nigerian shooting sport and Africa.
Amidst obvious challenges the NSSF is currently facing, for the first time in the history of the Nigerian Shooting Sport Federation, a sitting ASSF President visited Nigeria, Africa’s largest shooting sport talent reservoir, a gesture seen by many participants at a one-week shooting judges’ course as a milestone achievement, if participants at the course can explore the opportunities.
In an exclusive interview, General Hazem Hosny, from Egypt, told the Media Unit of the Nigeria Shooting Sport Federation that the purpose of his visit to Nigeria as one of the countries under his jurisdiction was to impact a special knowledge of air pistol and rifle as well as general rules and regulations of the International Shooting Sport Federation, ISSF, on the juries in the sport by hosting the African Shooting Sport Federation’s Judges’ Course in Nigeria, the first time the country would be hosting it.
A member of the administrative Counsel in the ISSF, the Egyptian highlighted the rationale behind staging the Course in Nigeria.
“The benefits of this course are enormous. First, the ASSF took the burden of hosting this course following mutual consent between the ASSF and NSSF. It’s pretty expensive to bring someone to Nigeria to get the course done for the people, the shooters and the juries.
“But Nigeria is hospitable with unique human and natural resources, especially good shooters and coaches, some of whom are now judges. So, there is the urgent need to acquaint judges with the necessary knowledge of the sport, and its constantly evolving rules and regulations in order to be able to compete favourably with their counterparts from around the world.
“So, the best step forward is holding this judge’s course here in Nigeria because these same participants are the ones to organize and officiate local and probably international championships”, the ASSF President explained.
General Hazem who is the sole instructor at the one-week long judges’ course revealed that due to the importance attached to Nigeria, the International Shooting Sport Federation, ISSF, had approved the release of ten air rifles and pistols, as well as ten electronic targets to the world’s most populous black nation, adding that it was up to the NSSF President to get the best location to install the facilities, and organize national championships.
The ASSF President who also doubles as President of the Egyptian Shooting Sport Federation promised to concretize relations between Egypt and Nigeria in the area of manpower development and exchange.
“We can strengthen the relationship between Egypt and Nigeria by hosting championships and request the participation of Nigeria to exchange experience and manpower between the two countries within the period of such championship(s).
“Egypt is hosting the World Cup in Shot Gun in February, next year, so we are already working out modalities to have the Nigerian Shooting Sport Federation’s President attend the championship”, he said.
He described his reception in Nigeria as second to none, acknowledging the efforts of the NSSF President, Brigadier General Lonsdale Adeoye, and his Board in according him the best hospitality.
“Nigeria is a hospitable country with kind, beautiful and handsome people, gifted with excellent potentials.
“Thank you for all your efforts towards me, and I feel extremely elated to be a part of the NSSF, and we are patiently waiting for Nigeria to visit Egypt for camping for any of their global championships in the future”, he optimistically opined.
With the visit of the ASSF President, it could mean a new dawn for shooting sport in Nigeria and the rebirth of a new hope of greater things to come to the NSSF in the shortest possible time.
The ASSF Judges’ Course which is holding at the Citadel de Continental Hotel and Suites, Ikeja, Lagos, began on 22nd November and will climax on the 28th of same month with focus on specific training in Air Rifle and Air Pistol, as well as ISSF general technical rules and regulations.
The course has over thirty participants from various military and paramilitary backgrounds, including the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, Department of State Services(DSS), Customs, Civil Defence, Lagos State Sports Commission, Ogun State Sports Council, and the Safari Hunters Association, among others.