NIgeria flagMay 17 - Nigeria have set themselves a target of four gold medals at London 2012, despite not having won one for 12 years, the head of the country's National Sports Commission (NSC) said today.

Patrick Ekeji, the new acting director general of the NSC, revealed the target even though he admitted that Nigeria is already behind with its preparations for London.

He said: “Our target is to win four gold medals at the London Games and that is attainable because we intend to plan towards it as we move on."

Ekeji, a former coach of the country's national football team, unveiled a four-year road map when he was appointed earlier this month that he claimed would change the landscape of sport in Ngeria, the world's eighth biggest country with a population of 148 million.

These include financial incentives that he hopes will inspire the country's sportsmen and women.

Ekeji said: "We are using the incentives to motivate performance and as we move close to the London 2012 Olympics, it gets higher.

“We also have good plans to boost the performances of athletes during competitions but we‘ll roll out that when we have the opportunity to meet a great number of them soon.

"It might sound funny but the truth is that we are well behind schedule.

"Since we are aware of this we are also working out ad-hoc arrangement to bring out the best in our athletes and also ensure our preparation is good enough to get us the desired results.

“It is important to get it right and we just have to be resolute to make it.

"The issue of sponsorship is also crucial and we are looking at all of that to boost our athletes because it is clear that Government cannot do it alone."

In October, Nigeria's first-ever Olympic gold medallist , long jumper, Chioma Ajunwa warned that the country's preparations must start immediately if they are to be successful at London 2012.

Her success in Atlanta was followed at the same Games by the victory of the football team.

Since then Nigeria have failed to win a gold medal.

At the Beijing Games Nigeria won only four medals, one silver and three bronze, finishing 61st overall.