Sunday Dare, the minister for youth and sports development, has described the national leagues as the common thread of Nigeria’s football development.
The minister spoke about the development of football in Nigeria when he received the club owners’ association led by Isaac Danladi, its president, at his office at Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
Dare emphasized that in the event that national leagues lack a definitive licensing and enforcement governance structure, poor financial controls and inconsistent standards, the end result is a weak national team.
For his part, Danladi applauded Dare for his “giant steps” in the sports sector over the past three years.
He said the reforms and innovations carried out by him were instrumental in Nigeria’s brilliant performance at the World Championships in Athletics in Oregon, and a record breaking feat at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Danladi also praised Dare for the 10-year football development master plan report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
He expressed his optimism that with the early implementation of the report, club owners will play a leading role in the nation’s football development, including the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as members of its congress.
Dare praised the club owners for the work they are doing for the development of football across the country, acknowledging the ministry’s awareness of the challenges faced by 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, the challenges, have been on display, 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 soccer-loving nation,” he said. .
“As the Ministry that is mandated to oversee sports development and establish general direction, in terms of policy and initiatives for sports development of which football is important, we have conveyed our concerns to the necessary administrators, we have had time to sitting down with them, we have had an exchange of correspondence, and we believe that concerted efforts can bring about change.”
Dare expressed his optimism that the necessary reforms would soon begin to ensure that Nigerian football and its administration reach an enviable level where rules are followed and governance structures follow international best practices.
“The opportunity of this courtesy call is important to convey an important message, to echo what the President said. Having been informed, he understands that our national league is weak, appreciates the problems and challenges and has promised to support not only the Ministry, but also the managers and owners of the clubs. So we hope that the 10-year Football Master Plan Report will serve as a roadmap,” the minister added.