*Dare changing the narrative for former athletes, coaches
Barely 48 hours after the nation’s football community marked the fourth year anniversary of the death of former Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has added him and other fallen heroes to the list of families of ex-athletes the ministry will cater for.
According to sources from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, what the minister has proposed is in line with the policy of the current administration to reach out to families of late Nigerian sports heroes and those still alive but are in need of assistance.
Also included in the list is families of late Manga Mohammed who won the 1993 FIFA Under-17 World Cup with the Golden Eaglets In Japan.
He also had a stint with the Flying Eagles in the early 1990s.
Speaking on this new welfare scheme for sportsmen and women, Dare said, “We have compiled a list of not only ex-players and athletes, we also included coaches who served their father land. They deserved to be part of what we are doing. Their families as well as those with one form of ailment or the other, are going to be supported.
“Someone like Keshi, who won the Nations Cup 2013 in South Africa as a coach, we need to visit his family. The man (Keshi) served this country both as a player and a coach.
“It is four years now that he passed away. We can’t pretend to forget so soon that he was truly a patriot as well as a legend of the round leather game.
“Late Shaibu Amodu was one of the first coaches in this country that qualified Nigeria on two occasions for the World Cup, His parents and family deserves our love. They should know we still remember him.
“The family of late coach Musa Abdullahi who was Nigeria’s Under-17 coach in 2001 will be visited too. Late Manga Muhammed a player who played in the Under-17 World Cup at Japan ‘93 where the country won the trophy, we need to go to Kano and see his family.
“Late Mudashiru Lawal was another legend of the game as far back as the early 1980’s. I personally made an arrangement to ensure that the family will be visited too,” observed the minister.
The Sports Minister stressed that the welfare scheme will henceforth provide monthly stipends for the families of late and ailing athletes and ex-players through the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
“The most important thing is that we have created a welfare scheme for our past heroes and heroines. We are close to changing the narrative completely and we will continue to update the list as time goes on,” the Minister concluded.