Sports Set to Return from Covid-19 Lockdown, Says Dare

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Sunday-Dare

By Duro Ikhazuagbe

Arrangements for sports to return fully from the Covid-19 lockdown appear to have started with plans to open camps for athletes in Akure (Ondo State), Abuja (FCT) and Pankshin (Plateau State).

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, gave this hint in Lagos yesterday when fielding questions from sportswriters at the venue of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Total E&P Nigeria and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).

Dare said: “In another two weeks, we hope to open camps in Akure, Abuja and Pankshin in Plateau State, to help our athletes get over the rustiness of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. It is going to be a two weeks event whereby all our athletes will be in different centres and we are going to pay for everything,” observed the minister when replying to a question on whether the 20th National Sports Festival will still take place this year.

He said it is the desire of the Sports Ministry under his watch for the festival to still take place in Benin City, Edo State despite the the damage the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to sports all over the world.

“It is our desire to have the National Sports Festival which I called the Nigeria Olympic Games to take place this year. We have shown commitment, we already set up a team and through their reports, they already suggested October (for the NSF to hold).

The minister stressed that based on the Covid-19 prevention rate and other indices like Covid-19 protocols “we have been working with the PTF, NCDC, the Federal Ministry of Health. The Sports Ministry will be properly guided when the numbers are right. We are certainly going to have that festival and it is going to have both contact and non-contact sports.”

Dare gave examples of countries around the world where sports have returned fully, stressing that Nigeria can also emulate such countries if we do the right things to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The world already started both contacts and non-contacts sports. There are protocols in place. If we repeat the same thing here, we are going to get our lives back also.

“For all the sports returning, we are having discussions and just in a matter weeks, sports will be back.

He admitted to have provided all the necessary things, documents and preparation plans to reopen sports.

“Two months ago, we submitted documents that have to do with Covid-19 protocols, that have to do with contact and non-contact sports, with a particular section dedicated to football. So we are all set and I think in a couple of weeks. We are on the same page with the PTF and the Health Ministry. I can assure you that in a couple of weeks sports will return in Nigeria.