Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, began the New Year with the promise to deliver four stadia which will meet FIFA standard before the end of the first quarter of year 2020.
Still basking in his new approach to sports development through the adoption of facilities for rehabilitation, the youthful minister said in his New Year message to stakeholders in Nigeria’s sports that his promise is ‘doable.’
Speaking through his twitter handle on social media yesterday, Dare hinted that talks were ongoing with a state government and some corporate players in the Nigerian economy on how to breath life back into the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan formerly known as Liberty Stadium.
“Talks are ongoing concerning the renovation of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, formerly, Liberty Stadium with government and a few private individuals. Our goal is to deliver four FiFA standard pitches by the first quarter of 2020 by God’s Grace,” the minister said on his twitter handle @SundayDareSD.
The former journalist who succeeded in convincing billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote and sports betting owner, Adebutu Kessington to adopt the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja and the National Stadium in Lagos for renovation however did not list the other three stadia to be upgraded to FIFA standard before the end of April this year.
The playing turf of the mainbowl of the Abuja stadium which was completed in 2003 in readiness for Nigeria to host the African Games that year needs a complete overhaul in addition to minor renovation of other facilities in the Package ‘B’ of the complex largely under utilized since inception.
The same cannot be said of the stadium in Lagos that was built in 1972 for the country to host the 2nd edition of the African Games.
The stadium tagged ‘Sports City’ is now a shadow of itself even after a complete renovation in 1999 for the Under-20 FIFA World Cup finals hosted by Nigeria.
The minister also stated that the Principal’s Cup and the Headmaster’s Game that were breeding ground for academical sports men and women will be revived to recreate the glory that has eluded Nigeria of recent.
He said the Sports Ministry has also keyed in into the initiative of adoption of athletes by individuals and corporate bodies to help them in their training for continental and global competitions.
“Soon, the Headmasters’ Cup for primary Schools and Principal’s Cup (are) coming back, a new Talent Hunt Program, THP, is being finalized, Adoption Initiative is birthed and the policy to turn sports into business are being pursued among other things,” Dare also tweeted.