With the dire need for policy direction to catalyze sports development and repositioning in Nigeria, Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Honourable Sunday Dare has restated his commitment in ensuring total implementation of the Policies and Plans to drive sports development in Nigeria.
Sunday Dare stated that two major all-encompassing documents which would further catalyze his sports development drive will be ready in time and implemented to the letter.
The Minister said, “the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) and Football Masterplan Committee will be producing two wholesome documents that will further foster sports development, as well as provide a comprehensive framework to guide sports development in the country.”
According to him, “We have been able to successfully re-classify sports as a business and this is just a small part of a larger plan. The final draft of the National Sports Industry Policy has been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Justice and we are positive it would change the face of sports in the country. Policies are well-thought, necessitated by a need for direction and wholesome in its approach, so while it may take a lot of time, it would leave a lasting impact,” the Minister added.
The Minister further stated that the Committee on Football Masterplan development which was set up to develop football in the country will submit its report in the first week of May, as part of the plans to re-think Nigerian football.
The Journey so Far
Recounting the distance covered so far, through the Minister’s Adopt-a-Sports Facility Initiative, after 11 years of neglect, the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja has enjoyed comprehensive rejuvenation, getting CAF/FIFA’s pass mark, as well as hosting major national and international sports activities. Also, the National Stadium, Surulere is currently under revamp after suffering 19 years of abandonment. Sports infrastructure in Daura, Abuja and Lagos have all benefitted from the drive. Sunday Dare said this initiative was conceived to revitalize sporting infrastructures in the country and ensure their proper maintenance.
Also, the Minister initiated the Adopt-an-athlete initiative which has seen over 32 athletes receive financial support both in Naira and Dollars to help lessen the burden of tournament participations, medical bills and out-of-competition trainings.
In what represented a boost for the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), Honourable Sunday Dare gave a clear mandate to the league Management Company (LMC) to enforce club licensing for teams, with the need to take the games to the people through the NPFL TV, as well as sanctions for clubs who break the League’s Code of Conduct.
Putting the Nigerian youth in the conversation, the Ministry put up the Talent Hunt Program which is incubating bright minds and helping them harness their talents.
Also, two major Memorandum Of Understanding agreements have been signed with the Presidents of Turkey and South Africa for youth exchange drive and development.
In a bid for youth inclusiveness in national development, the Minister hosted the first ever National Youth Conference with youth from all over the country in attendance.
Sunday Dare reassured that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring lasting impact and sustainability of these programs, so the country can reap the benefits of the initiatives.