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Ministry, NANPF partner for leagues’ resumption, says Babangida

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Babangida

President of the National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers (NANPF), Tijani Babangida, has revealed that his organisation is in partnership with the Ministry of Sports to ensure the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and other competitions are resumed to give players the opportunity to practice their trade.

Some home-based players went to town lamenting the untold hardship they are facing since football and other sports were stopped by the Presidential Task Force on the COVID-19 pandemic. The players, who said they were tired of staying at home, also revealed that it was affecting their families as they are unable to earn their living through the sport.

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They called on the PTF to take a leaf from European and American countries that have opened their arenas for sports to restart.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Babangida said he was aware of the players’ predicaments, adding that his union was liaising with the sports ministry for a possible resumption of the football.

“I am aware of the pains our players are going through and of course, I will be in touch with them soon. I am waiting for the authorities to come out with a decision on contact sports, especially football so that our leagues can start.

“It can be very tiring for players and it can also affect them mentally when they are not doing anything, especially when it comes to taking care of their families. I am aware that some of them are yet to receive salaries and even those that are getting it, are not being paid their full salaries, which is not good.

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“We’re appealing to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic that they should come out and say something about contact sports so that they too can be allowed to resume as other developed countries have already done,” he said.

The former international added, “We have Daniel Amokachi as the Special Assistant to the President on Sports… he can help in discussing the issue with the sports ministry. I am sure he is already doing that and I am also convinced that the sports minister is discussing with the task force so that contact sports can resume.

“It is only in Nigeria that we are still behind in these matters, we have to join others to kick-start our domestic leagues,” he said.

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