The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) says football remains the number one sport in Nigeria and a national asset.
According to Buhari, his regime will resist any attempt to undermine its development.
He stated this when he received the 10-year Football Development Master Plan submitted by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday in Abuja.
“It is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the sport, which has brought Nigeria many laurels, and treat it as a national asset, just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility and commitment from those charged with the administration of our football.”
Buhari also urged stakeholders to work together constructively and patriotically.
“We have seen attempts to disrespect and undermine the institutions supervising our sports. We have seen attempts to subjugate national interest for narrow interest or disrespect the laws of Nigeria. Nigeria will not take lightly any attempt to inflict injury on its football fortunes,” he added.
The President used the occasion to spell out his expectations from the two-volume report.
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He directed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Football Federation to commence its implementation in phases.
He said this should be carried out within the fine lines of relevant sections of the Nigerian laws on sports development and the statutes of the world football body FIFA.
Buhari added, “This government is interested in developing a football culture that will accommodate global best practices. This will also help the nation to lay a solid foundation for domestic football and to put in place professionally and efficiently run leagues.
“It will also help in entrenching a consistent and stable football calendar and create a value chain which will boost the sports ecosystem.”
He said achieving this would guarantee desired progress in continental and international competitions.
“I know that a lot of work went into putting this 10-year master plan together. I received regular briefings on the work being done and I am happy that our goal has been achieved.”