There is now a departure from the previous neglect and lack of political will to fix the abandoned National Stadium all over the country, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, said at the weekend, noting that the facilities would now enjoy political will.
The minister, who paid a one-day working visit to the National Stadium, Lagos, said that the stadium’s reinstatement was among his three point agenda as a minister.
According to newsmen, the minister in the company of the Chairman, Nigeria Women League, Aisha Falode and other directors in the ministry of sports visited the stadium that has suffered neglect for over 16 years.
Dare said that the ministry’s agenda for sports development in Nigeria would be in three key areas which includes, facilities maintenance, upgrade and management.
“I am on a working visit to the National Stadium, Lagos today, but I have visited MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna and Daura Township Stadium.
“I visited Daura Township Stadium because there is also a plan for grassroots development of sports in our agenda.
“For us in the Youth Ministry, we will focus, on three major things which includes, facility maintenance, upgrade and management.
“What I have seen here is because we have not done 100 per cent management and upgrade of the stadium over the years,” he said.
Dare said that his working visit to the stadium was not for ritual sake, but to have an holistic assessment of the stadium with a strong political will to fix it.
“Let me say that my coming here is not for ritual sake, I came with a renewed instruction from the President Muhammadu Buhari who gave the assignment.
“There is political will on the part of the president this time to make sure that national monuments like this are not neglected.
“For this, we will find out an option at which we can restore back to glory Nigeria as a football nation.
“We should have up to 10 or 12 international standard stadium and pitches up top FIFA standard. So, there is a renewed political will to restore the stadium,” he said.
Dare disclosed that a Public Private Partnership to bring back the stadium would not be jettisoned, adding that holistic assessment would be given to the facilities.
“A process is in place before I came in as minister and I cannot truncate that. The president has made a decision on the facility.
“My work is to inspect and provide the right advice from a professional standpoint. I will be working in conjunction with experts form the Nigeria Football Federation and the youth ministry.
“I hope that the arrangement with the Federal Government and Lagos state Government will come and we are also looking at Public Private Partnership for a model to evolve and put the facility back.
“As I have said before I will not be only the Minister of Football, but sports. Nigeria has excelled in many sports; we have about 12 sports which we have competitive edge,” he said.
Super Eagles’ Future Very Bright -Rohr
Nigeria national team coach, Gernot Rohr, believes that the Super Eagles have ‘good future’ after they played out a 1-1 draw against Brazil in last Sunday’s international friendly in Singapore.
The 66-year-old German tactician paraded a young team against the five-time world champions, following a spate of withdrawals by some of his experienced players, including Captain Ahmed Musa.
The team, however, gave a good account of themselves with Joe Aribo, making his second appearance for the Super Eagles, scoring the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.
The draw is the second in a row for the Brazilians after they were held by Senegal in last week’s friendly outing.
Rohr is impressed with the performance of his side but admitted the three-time African champions still have to improve.
“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr said in a post-match press conference.
“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.
“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.
“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”
Rohr believes African football is improving after both Nigeria and Senegal avoided defeat against the world number three.
“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.
Nigeria will hope to secure good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.
Federer Still After Elusive Olympic Gold
Roger Federer has confirmed he intends to play in next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo as he chases an elusive gold medal in the men’s singles.
The Swiss great, who turns 39 during the Games, is one of the sport’s most decorated players but he has never won the Olympic singles title.
Federer won silver at London 2012 after losing to Britain’s Andy Murray.
“At the end of the day, my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again,” Federer said.
Federer, who missed Rio 2016 through injury, did win a gold medal at Beijing 2008 in the men’s doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka.
In the singles, 20-time Grand Slam champion, Federer finished fourth at Sydney 2000, lost in the second round at Athens 2004 and reached the quarter-finals in Beijing.
“I’ve been debating with my team for a few weeks now, months actually, what I should do in the summer after Wimbledon and before the US Open,” added Federer, ranked third in the world.
“I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing, I’ve got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again, so I’m very excited.”
Minister Moves To Give National Stadium, Lagos Facelift
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has embarked on a bid to give the National Stadium, Lagos a facelift.
Dare embarked on an inspection tour of the decaying edifice alongside Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Femi Hamzat at the weekend.
In a series of tweets, the sports minister is keen on refurbishing the sporting facility ‘to the glory it deserves’.
Built in 1961and expanded in 1972, the hallowed ground for Nigeria’s sporting glory hosted the 1973 All-Africa Games. On the ground, the country lifted her first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980.
However, it has gone into disrepair since the Abuja National Stadium was constructed to host the 2003 All African Games.
The 2004 LG Cup Four Nations Tournament was the last football championship hosted inside the stadium’s main bowl. In the stadium, Senegal silenced Nigeria 1-0 thanks to Papa Khalifa Sangere’s 25th-minute strike to mark the country’s last outing at the imposing edifice popularly called sportscity.
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