• FG To Rehabilitate, Upgrade State-Owned Stadia
• Shaibu Wants Bureaucracy Out Of Sports
The 2020 National Sports Festival may hold from December 3 to 18 in Benin City, Edo State, if the Federal Government accepts a recommendation by the National Council of Sports (NSC).
The NCS, which ended its technical session in Asaba yesterday, also recommended that the competition be staggered in two phases from December 12 to 16.
According to its communiqué at the end of the NSC meeting, the members agreed that the games will open on December 3 with the opening ceremony holding two day later, while the closing ceremony will hold on December 17.
“The virtual meeting held earlier this year unanimously agreed to host the festival this year. The committee of experts set up during the virtual meeting made specific recommendations regarding the successful organisation of the 20th National Sports Festival.
“It has become imperative to tinker with the modus operandi of the festival. The recommendations are however subject to the buy-in of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and final approval by the President Muhammadu Buhari,” the communiqué reads.
The festival was postponed a few days to the opening ceremony due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March.
Meanwhile, the NCS has advocated for special fund for the construction of multipurpose sports halls in all the states of the federation, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The call was among the key resolutions at the NCS, which prompted the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to assure the members that he would present a memo on the recommendation to the Federal Executive Council.
Dare promised that the Federal Government would upgrade state-owned mini stadiums, adding that abandoned youth centres across the country would be rehabilitated.
Earlier, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, has canvassed for the removal of bureaucracy from sports in order to bring about proper development.
Speaking at the National Council of Sports meeting in Asaba, Shuaibu said: “We must remove bureaucracy from sports because it is a specialised event. We must plan so that we can get funding.
“If we are able to plan, the private sector would show interest and invest in the sector. Sports can employ over two million youths, but right now, we are not employing up to 500.
“We must revive our state leagues as a prerequisite for participation in our national league. That way, about 900,000 youths would be engaged, who will then become nursery for our national teams.”
Shuaibu also said the country could use handball to engage the youths and take them off the streets.
On Edo State’s preparation for the festival, he said: “We have all protocols in place. We are in compliance with the stipulated rules and we don’t want anybody infected during the festival.
“We are using the Super Eagles versus Sierra Leone match to test run our facilities. But the players and officials must arrive early and undergo all the protocols.”