Nigeria, South Africa reach youth, sports development agreement
• Ministry warns states against age cheats
Nigeria has reached an agreement with South Africa to explore areas of mutual benefits in youth, sports, culture and educational development, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has disclosed.
Speaking in his office in Abuja when a delegation led by South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Thamsanga Mseleka, paid him a courtesy call, Dare recalled that both countries have had a long history of mutual bilateral relationship, which could be further explored to enhance socio-economic development.
“Clearly, history bears you out that both countries have longstanding diplomatic relationship. We have however recently seen a number of unpleasant occurrences that have drawn both countries back to the table to fashion out a part way of resolution. This involved mostly youth, who were the victims. But I am happy that just as Nigeria was talking about how to protect the rights of her citizens, particularly the youth population, South Africa was also thinking of doing the same. This will normalise our relationship, as we seek ways of peaceful co-existence.”
Also speaking on the pact, South Africa’s Mseleka said he was looking up to opening areas of cementing the long standing diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and South Africa.
He assured that South Africa was ready to partner with Nigeria to work out mechanisms that would strengthen relationship involving the youth in sports, culture and education.
He expressed excitement that South Africa’s women national football team, Bayana Bayana, would participate in the Aisha Buhari Cup competition in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the sports ministry has warned states against using athletes over the stipulated age limit at the National Youth Games scheduled for October 2021 in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Director of Grassroots Sports Development in the Ministry, Dr. Bode Durotoye, disclosed that the 2021 Youth Games has been going on as scheduled in the timeline, adding that zonal elimination for eight team sports has just been concluded in the six geo-political zones in the country.
Durotoye said there would be sanctions against states and athletes that falsify age, engage in the use of performance enhancing substances and misrepresent the disability status of special athletes, amongst others.
The National Youth Games is scheduled to hold from October 10 to 19, 2021 in Ilorin, Kwara state.