Solomon Dalung,
Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung,

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has thumbed-up his ministry for the modest achievements Nigeria recorded in continental and global sports last year.

While addressing sports journalists at the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) boardroom in Lagos yesterday, the minister listed Super Eagles qualification for the World Cup amongst the achievements of his ministry.

Dalung who was appointed to oversee the sector in November 2015 by the Muhammadu Buhari administration insisted that the mandate handed out to him to formulate and implement policies for the sports sector was on course.

“Since assumption of office, we have worked assiduously to ensure that our core mandates are not only met but possibly exceeded.

“ Since November, 2015, I was given the mandate to supervise the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on youth and sports development towards wealth creation, youth empowerment, physical fitness and wellbeing.

“We are achieving excellence in sports, national unity and sustainable development in the sector,” observed the minister.

“The Super Eagles qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a game to spare, an outcome that is sustained even with the application of FIFA penalty on the team for inappropriate fielding of a footballer who already had two yellow cards,” stressed the minister.

After an early period in office characterised by leadership struggle at the NFF, Dalung praised the current cordial relationship between the world football governing body FIFA and Nigeria.

“We have enhanced our relationship with the world football governing body, FIFA to the point where the organisation has decided to hold an Executive Football Summits (EFS) in February 2018, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos,” revealed the minister.

On the recent appointment of board members for the NFF by the Federal Government, Dalung restated his earlier position that it was done in error.

“We have informed FIFA that there is nothing to worry about as the situation will be corrected. Getting into the NFF board is not by appointment but through elections.”

appointments He further attributed the major achievements recorded in sports to the democratization of into the boards of national sports federations.

“This singular action informed the emergence of credible leadership for the federations the immediate dividend of which has been the manifest improvement in the performances of the federations in various continental and international tournaments,” he noted.

He insisted that there was no issue with the leadership struggle in the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF).

“What is happening there is the case of somebody who did not contest an election is asking that the duly elected board be dissolved for fresh election to take place. Where is such thing done? We are waiting for FIBA to come in March to settle the matter once and for all,” concludes the minster.