Laloko hails ministry’s resolve on abandoned national stadia
– Facilities shouldn’t be limited to special events to avoid decline
Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Director, Kashimawo Laloko, has described as a welcome development the report credited to the sports minister that the ministry has resolved to repair some of the abandoned national stadia across the country, adding that proper usage of the facilities is key to maintaining them.
The new Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare paid a one-day inspection visit to the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos at the weekend, and disclosed his intention of fixing some of the national facilities across the country. He stated that the decision was a clear departure from the previous neglect and a lack of political will.
Dare had said: “I visited Daura Township Stadium because there is also a plan for grassroots development of sports in our agenda. For us in the youth ministry, we will focus, on three major things, which include facility maintenance, upgrade, and management. What I have seen here is because we have not done 100 per cent management and upgrade of the stadium over the years,” he said.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Laloko stated that if the stadium were repaired, the only way they could be maintained was for the ministry to also allow the facilities to be put to use for other events and not limit them to specific events as they have been in the past.
“Fixing the national stadia all over the country is a very good idea. For me, I think we have enough facilities, but when the facilities are not being put to use, what happens to them? They become dilapidated. It is like a house that you built and nobody is living in it.
“For instance now, if I told the minister that I want to use the stadium for the Pepsi Academy programme, would he allow me? The people in charge of the facility will not even agree because they want to make money. This is what you get when you bring in “makeup” to run our sports facilities like the stadium, and what happened?
“Many at the ministry sports are there because of what they will gain,” he said, adding that he would advise the minister that the National Stadium in Surulere be handed over to the state government.
“For me, they should hand over the National Stadium in Surulere to the Lagos State government. Let the state use it for the league matches, and whatever they are doing. They should not also tell us that the stadium is for special events. Why should it be?
“More sports facilities will be better for the country, but the government should also let us know what to do with them to avoid making the same mistake again after they have finished renovating them,” he stated.