I have worked hard to lift Nigeria’s sports, says Dare
After four years in office, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, on Monday, thumbed his chest for doing a good job of his assignment.
Dare, who assumed office in 2019, is expected to leave the position this month following the expiration of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime. He may still return to his current position since his party, All Progressives Congress (APC), got another mandate to continue leading the country.
Speaking on his achievements after four years in office, Dare said he has worked hard to lift the standard of sports in the country, pointing at the adopt-a-talent policy set by his administration as one of the programmes that have given Nigerian athletes opportunities to excel.
He also listed infrastructural development as part of the legacies he is leaving in the sector.
He said: “In my tenure as minister of sports, I was able to revamp the Abuja Stadium and start the renovation of the National Stadium in Lagos, which was neglected by past ministers due to lack of funds.
“During the COVID-19 period, sports was the worst hit because of the contact nature of the games, but at the end of the day, we succeeded.
“As I prepare to leave office, the sports ministry is setting up a sports and business policy to help federations get funds to run their bodies without the ministry and government’s support. It has been observed that if government withdraws from funding sports federations, many of them will collapse in the country.”
“The ministry, to this effect, is putting up a sports and business policy project to be out soon. The way the policy will work is when government gives waivers to corporate bodies in some areas, the federations will, in turn, take advantage of this to ask companies for sponsorship. The policy will involve other privileges the federations should take advantage of. There are also benefits to corporate entities, who invest in sports.”
According to Dare, if given another opportunity to serve Nigeria as Sports Minister, he would work on his relationship with athletes and ensure their demands are understood to avoid disagreements that lead to protests.
Dare also spoke on Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and German, Gernot Rohr’s sack as national team manager.
Insisting that he does not regret Rohr’s sack, Dare said: “After the match in Benin, where Sierra Leone came from 4-0 down to draw with the Super Eagles, I lost faith in the coach.
“Several consultations were made by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board, then led by Amaju Pinnick, and the consensus was that Rohr was not the right man for the Super Eagles.
“Even sports journalists and other media practitioners were against the coach leading the Super Eagles at that period. It was not all about winning games, but the ability of the coach to handle and make the team technically well-grounded and setting a playing pattern for the team.”
On the current Super Eagles coach, Dare said the decision on if he would continue or not resides with the NFF, who has the responsibility of evaluating his job.
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