Minister moves to overhaul Super Eagles, football architecture
Speaking on Nigeria’s recent African Cup of Nations qualifying series doubleheader against Sierra Leone, the minister, who apologised for the Super Eagles’ disappointing outings against the Leone Stars, said the results of the matches have once again highlighted the urgent need to restructure the national team, adding that the games showed that the technical crew led by Gernot Rohr cannot meet Nigerians’ aspirations.
He said, “Football sometimes throws up unpredictable outcomes. We believe in the skills and talents of Super Eagles players, but we will examine the team’s set up to correct the obvious lapses.
“We believe that when we hire a technical adviser; when we put our fate in the hands of some people, we expect some returns. If you hire a manager for your company and you don’t get the results you expect, you have the right to review your operations and take very critical decisions.
“My point is that we are going to sit back, review what has happened…we will review the entire team and whether the players are ready for this level of competition. We will also look at the technical adviser and also the entire people involved in football administration and the Super Eagles.
“You see when you fail to do the necessary checks, then you run the risk of repeating the same mistakes, failures and disappointments.”
Dare dismissed the claim in some quarters that he has no power to wade into the Super Eagles since there are elected officers in charge of the country’s football. The minister said he, as the chief custodian of Nigeria’s sports sector, has the powers to correct any shortcomings he discovers in any arm of the sector, including football.
He added: “The Super Eagles represent Nigeria, sing Nigeria’s national anthem and wear Nigeria’s jerseys. So, without Nigeria as a sovereign country, they have nobody to represent.
“When we look at their operations to make them better, it is no interference. They represent 200 million Nigerians and not any association or any individual. They carry our hopes and aspirations and as minister of sports of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my responsibility to ensure that the interest of Nigerians is protected.
“To ensure that we have a football administration that serves the purpose, the vision, and hopes of our country… we will review the way football is run in this country. It is not an interference; it will be a collective activity to make our football better.”
Dare also delved into the recent agitations by the youths, saying the Federal Government has been responding to them in the best possible way.
“Everything about the welfare of Nigeria’s youths in its entirety falls on my ministry and I can say that never in the history of this country has a president galvanized the entirety of government to look into an issue as the machinery activated by Mr. President.
“Change is not a one-time thing; it takes time to happen. There are processes to these things and we are working to make it happen.
“As I told some people, let’s have the conversations, let’s come together and work out the change.
“Yesterday, I had a meeting with the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Madam Amina. We had a meeting with about 70 youths for over 1.30 minutes to listen to them, we took notes and got feedback from them.”
Dare disclosed that his ministry has had over 25 youth centred initiatives for over five and half years, adding, “If the youths don’t know about these, the government has been activated to make sure they get the information and awareness.”
“The biggest of it is the NYF, which was approved in June this year before the EndSARS protests. It includes the Youth Investment Fund of about N75 billion.
“This shows that President Muhammadu Buhari is running a government that listens and will continue to listen. We have set up a table for the youths to come and discuss their issues.”
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