BY OLAGUNJU EBENEZER-LANIYI
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has described domestic football clubs as the fulcrum of Nigeria’s domestic leagues, stating they represent the life wire of Nigeria’s Football development.
Speaking while receiving the Club Owners Association led by its chairman, Barr. Isaac Danladi, at his Moshood Abiola Stadium office, Abuja, the Minister emphasised that in the instance where the domestic leagues lack a definitive governance structure of licensing and enforcement, poor financial controls, and inconsistent standards, the end result is a weak national team.
In his remarks, Barr. Danladi applauded Dare’s giant strides in the sports sector over the past 3 years, asserting that the reforms and innovations brought to bear, were instrumental to Nigeria’s scintillating performance in World Athletics Championship in Oregon, and a record-breaking feat at the just concluded Commonwealth games in Birmingham.
Danladi whilst commending the Minister for the 10-year Football Development Masterplan Report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari last week, expressed optimism that with the anticipated implementation of the report, club owners will play prominent roles in the development of the nation’s football inclusive of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as members of its Congress.
The Minister lauded the club owners for the work being done for the development of football across the country, acknowledging the Ministry’s awareness of the challenges faced by the clubs and their owners.
“We are aware of the efforts made by the NFF and the League Management Company (LMC) to address some of these challenges, but we are not satisfied with the efforts that have been made. The problems, and the challenges, have been out there in the open, but we have not seen a commensurate effort and commitment to bring about a league that is virile, profitable, and that fits our reputation as a football-loving nation.
“As the Ministry that has the mandate to superintend sports development and set a general direction, in terms of policy and initiatives for sports development of which football is major, we have passed our concerns to the necessary administrators, we have had time to sit with them, we’ve had an exchange of correspondence and we believe that concerted efforts can bring about the change,” the Minister said.
Dare expressed optimism that with the presentation of the Football Masterplan Report to the President last week, requisite reforms will soon kick off to ensure that Nigerian football and its administration attain the enviable standard where rules are adhered to, and governance structures follow international best practices.
“The opportunity of this courtesy call is important to pass an important message, to re-echo what the President said. Having been briefed, he understands our domestic league is weak, he appreciates the problems and the challenges and he has promised to support, not just the Ministry, but also the administrators and the club owners. So we expect the 10-year Football Masterplan Report will serve as a roadmap,” the Minister concluded.