The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare Wednesday reacted to the failure of Super Eagles to qualify for the 2022 World Cup stating the loss is regrettable and unfortunate.
Though the displeasure of Nigerians over the outcome of the match is justified, the destruction of the Stadium is unjustified and condemnable, the Minister emphasised.
“We drew 0-0 in Kumasi and drew 1-1 here and that meant the away goal rule gave Ghana the edge. It is most unfortunate and regrettable that we are not going to Qatar, but that is sports. Nothing is 100% certain.
“On our part, the Federal Government gave every support necessary. We got the stadium ready in all its glory. We mobilised Nigerians and other football lovers to fill up the stadium. The NFF called up a solid cast of players. 60,000 voices sang the National anthem in what must have been one of the most uplifting moments one could imagine. The fans gave their vocal support till the very end. The President of the nation, though saddened by the tragic events in Kaduna was determined to lend his support, and not let terrorists determine and define the activities and schedules of the Nation and its leaders with their opportunistic and wicked acts – which would be kowtowing to their agenda. On the day, it wasn’t enough”.
“We will move quickly because we still have a lot of work to do to give Nigerians the calibre of senior team it deserves. We will review all that we did leading to the game, take tough steps to redirect the development of our football and restore the DNA of Nigerian football. Whatever is necessary will be done quietly, firmly and determinedly”. Dare vowed.
“I believe better days are ahead for Nigerian football but only if we make the necessary changes. We need to rebrand our football and return to the grassroot and youth football culture of the past. Nigeria is a football loving Nation and it deserves the best”.
“I understand the displeasure that followed our non qualification for Qatar 2022.
We take responsibility. We will rebuild. We thank the Super Eagles players for their service. Our apologies as a Football administration ecosystem go out to fans who struggled to make it to ther appropriate seating positions”.
That said ,”Vandalizing and destroying sporting infrastructure at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium is not acceptable regardless of the unhappiness.The fans that did this must be condemned and sanctioned, the Minister insisted.
Dare revealed the already two committees have been constituted to look into circumstances leading to the security breach and apprehend culprits. “An investigative committee is looking at the security breaches and the vandalization that occured while the other committee is a combination of people from the Sports Ministry, the NFF, Para Military and Security personnel that worked on the Nigeria -Ghana match preparations” . These committees are expected to give a comprehensive report by Tuesday next week”.
“On the whole, the efforts we have been putting into birthing a long-term sustainable framework for sports development over the past three years will soon come to fruition. We are close to having a football masterplan and will soon deliver Sports as a business policy which we believe is the only sustainable pathway to a viable sports sector. The events of Tuesday highlight and validate the many thrusts of our policy intentions especially grassroots sporting and development of talents. I appeal to Nigerians for patience, thank law-abiding citizens who have joined their voices to condemn the acts of vandalization, and appreciate those who trooped out in their numbers to support the Super Eagles”, Dare added.