In a bid to upgrade sporting facilities in the country as well as enhance performance of the nation’s athletes for maximum podium appearances, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N2.4bn for the construction of a new National Sports Medicine and High Performance Centre at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare made the disclosure in a statement e-signed by Mohammed Manga , Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry,.
While briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja Dare stated that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development presented just one memo that had to do with the National Sports Medicine and the construction of a High-Performance Center at the Package B of the Moshood Abiola Stadium which was graciously considered and approved.
According to him, “FEC approved the construction of the National Sports Medicine and High Performance Centre in Abuja to improve the overall performances of Nigerian athletes. The lack of such facilities had been one of the drawbacks of sports development and athletes performances in the country”.
Dare explained that Global sports development practice has High Performance Centre as a major component of conditioning its athletes. “It takes your athletes beyond just raw talent to some level of sports science and precision and the lack of that scientific input into our sports development over time has not helped us to reach the maximum podium performance that can be attained by our athletes.
We have seen, particularly in Kenya and South Africa, where we have something close to that and what their performances are,” he said
The Minister stated further that unlike other projects in the past, the new High-Performance Centre has an in-built maintenance structure in its lifecycle design. “As we speak, more than 80% of the equipment that will be needed, some of them, digital equipment, are already secured and obtained at Moshood Abiola National Stadium. What we need is to construct the specialised building where we’re going to instal all of these.
And if this is done, the number one High Performance Centre in the whole of the African Continent is the one in South Africa and if we’re able to complete the one in Abuja here, that will be the second one in Africa”
He informed that the project is expected to be completed in three years time.
Dare stated further that because of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration’s commitment to sports development, his Ministry has been able to fix the mainbowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja to the satisfaction of Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), insisting that a team from the continental football governing body has given two stadia in Nigeria all clear, to host CAF competitions.
“To put it on record, CAF has approved two stadia in Nigeria, the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja and Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State to host CAF events. We have also fixed the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos and people are using the facilities except the 50-year mainbowl”, Dare explained.
“As I leave office at the end of this Administration, “I want to ensure that sports thrives under the incoming sports Minister with the approval of the facility” Dare added
Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Delta State Government
in respect of the Award of Hosting Rights for the four (4) Editions of the National Youth Games (NYG) covering the period, 2023 to 2026.
Dare, while signing the MoU today at the Government House, Asaba stated that awarding the hosting rights to Delta State for the next four years is one of the enduring legacies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration.
Dare stated further that with “the MoU signed today, the Ministry has secured the organisation of the youth fiesta for the next 4 years.”
He informed that the document signed has been perused and certified okay for signing by both parties and thus, “signing the document by both parties is a critical step that would signpost the commencement of activities for the successful organisation of the first in the series of the Games in September, 2023.”
Responding, the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa stated that Delta State Government agreed to sign the MoU with the Federal Government because it believes in the development of youth right from the grassroots in sports.
He assured that Delta State Government will ensure the successful organisation and hosting of the Games like other sports fiestas it had been opportuned to organize in the past.
Governor Okowa called on State Governments in the country to key into the development of the youth, especially in the area of grassroots sports.
Delta State “has been a leading champion in almost all the sporting competitions, we need States to challenge us, let them get prepared early enough to compete at least for second position because Delta will ever maintain its lead”, he said.
Senator Okowa thanked the Federal Government for giving the State the Hosting Rights of the Youth Games for the next four years.