Minister pleads with Nigerians over World Cup miss – Promises reform in football

Following the exit of the Super Eagles from the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare has pleaded with Nigerians over the national team’s ouster while promising to produce a football master plan for the country.

He, however, frowned at the vandalization that took place at the Moshood Abiola Stadium after the match, while promising to probe the activities of the vandals.

“We will review all that we did leading to the game, take tough steps to redirect the development of our football, and restore the DNA of Nigerian football. Whatever is necessary will be done quietly, firmly, and determinedly. We need to rebrand our football and return to the grassroots and youth football culture of the past. Nigeria is a football-loving nation and it deserves the best.”

He added: “I understand the unhappiness that followed our non-qualification for Qatar 2022. We take responsibility. We will rebuild and thank the Super Eagles players for their service. Our apologies as a football administration ecosystem go out to fans who struggled to make it to their appropriate seating positions.

For the vandalization that happened at the stadium, he said: “Vandalizing and destroying sporting infrastructure at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium is not acceptable regardless of unhappiness. The Nigerians that did this must be condemned.

“Already, work is ongoing. Two committees are working concurrently. An investigative committee is looking at the security breaches and the vandalization that occurred while the other committee is a combination of people from the ministry, NFF, paramilitary and security people. These committees are expected to give a comprehensive report by Tuesday next week.

On the way forward, the minister said: “On the whole, the efforts we have been putting into birthing a long-term sustainable framework for sports development over the past three years will soon come together. We are close to having a football master plan and will soon deliver sports as a business policy which we believe is the only sustainable pathway to a viable sports sector.”

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