Monday, 28th November 2022
Breaking News:

Buhari vows to resist attempts to undermine Nigerian football

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
24 August 2022   |   4:16 am
President Muhammadu Buhari has described football as Nigeria’s number one sport and a national asset, vowing his administration will resist any attempt to undermine its development.

Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare (left); President Muhammadu Buhari; Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Football 10-year Development Masterplan, Ibrahim Galadima and NFF’s First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, during the presentation of the document at the State House, Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• Directs Ministry to implement football 10-year masterplan
• Document proposes expansion of NFF congress, executive committee

President Muhammadu Buhari has described football as Nigeria’s number one sport and a national asset, vowing his administration will resist any attempt to undermine its development.

The President made the commitment, yesterday, in Abuja, while receiving a 10-year Football Development Masterplan submitted by Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare.

Describing football as “our passion and a major tool for unity,” the President affirmed that it is the responsibility of government to safeguard the sport, which has brought Nigeria many laurels and “treat it as a national asset.”

He said: “Indeed, just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility and commitment from those charged with the administration of our football, I also urge all stakeholders to work together constructively and patriotically.

“We have seen attempts to disrespect and undermine the institutions supervising our sports. We have seen attempts to subjugate national interest for narrow interest or disrespect the laws of Nigeria. Nigeria will not take lightly any attempt to inflict injury on its football fortunes.”

President Buhari, who used the occasion to spell out his expectations from the two-volume report, directed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to commence its implementation in phases, within the fine lines of relevant sections of the Nigerian laws on sports development and the statutes of the world soccer governing body, FIFA.

“This government is interested in developing a football culture that will not only accommodate global best practices but help the nation to lay a solid foundation for her domestic football, put in place professionally and efficiently run leagues, entrench a consistent and stable football calendar and create a value chain which will boost the sports ecosystem.

“Achieving this will guarantee desired progress in continental and international competitions.

“I know that a lot of work went into putting this 10-Year Masterplan together. I received regular briefings on the work being done and I am happy that our goal has been achieved. I am happy that the Masterplan enjoyed the inputs of a wide range of stakeholders in football.

“I am equally happy that the Nigeria Football 10-Year Masterplan (2022-2032) identified 15 key areas of challenge and provided practical recommendations to address these fundamental problems that have bedeviled football development in the country.

“The implementation of the short term and medium term plans should commence.

“I believe this will signal a positive turning point for our football and a major step forward in our bid to create a conducive environment for its sustainability, viability and profitability.”

On the forthcoming NFF executive election, Buhari reiterated his earlier communication to the body on the need for a more equitable and democratic representation in the Congress of the Federation.

According to him, this will ensure that critical stakeholders are not shut out and the most capable and competent men and women are elected to run the affairs of the Federation.

Earlier, Sports Minister, Dare, announced that the Buhari administration had disbursed over N15 billion to NFF through budgetary appropriations and Presidential interventions in the last seven years.

COMMENDING the President for attention to football development in the country and laying a solid foundation for the growth of the game, Dare described the 10-year Masterplan, which took the Ibrahim Galadima-led 16-member committee six months to prepare, as ‘’a world class document.’’

He said the prescriptions set forth in the Football Masterplan, if followed through with the needed will and determination, would set Nigeria’s football on a sure footing and position it amongst the best in the world.

“The masterplan is envisioned to encapsulate functional strategies that would outlast the current administration and firmly place Nigerian football on the path to sustainable growth and development.

“Mr. President, with your approval, this document will be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval and future funding, so that the implementation of the short, medium and long term plans can commence as part of the legacies of this administration.

“Thereafter, this document will be handed over to our football administrators, that is the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), who shall be expected to implement key elements of these reports in stages.’’

Dare pledged that the Ministry will monitor the faithful implementation of the Masterplan to ensure that attention is paid to the business opportunities along the value chain, governance structure, standardisation, and prioritisation of the welfare of footballers, education and awareness.