By Samuel Adegoke
Minister of Sports and Youth Development Mr Sunday Dare has disclosed that the Federal Government would launch Principal’s Cup football competition in Lagos and Kaduna next week Friday.
Dare, who disclosed this while addressing members of the South West Group of Online publishers (SWEGOP) in Ibadan on Saturday, said 41,000 secondary schools across the nation would participate in the football competition.
The minister said the competition was one of the several efforts by the President Mohammadu Buhari administration to open up opportunities for youths to use their talents and energy to excel.
He explained that the competition, which was formerly the football culture in South West Nigeria, would serve as an incubator to groom future international footballers among Nigerian youths.
Dare said Nigerian football has suffered a setback for many years but that his ministry has developed a new strategy to revive it which is already yielding fruits. For example, he said his ministry has successfully made the Federal Government see sport as business rather than a mere entertainment activity.
He added that he developed a new policy to achieve that, explaining that the new strategy of 3Is (Infrastructure, Incentive and Investment) is already driving a positive development of sports in the country. For instance, the policy, he revealed, has resulted in the renovation of the stadium at Surulere, Lagos under a partnership with the private sector.
He said efforts were on to renovate and manage other sport facilities across the country through partnership with the private sector where investors would invest on facilities and operate them for an agreed number of years and hand over to the government thereafter. He said the government does not have the sums required to solely fix all sport infrastructures in the country.
Dare also revealed that his ministry has partnered with the National Bureau of Statistics to generate accurate data on the number of youths, demographics and competencies across the nation. He pointed out that the data would be generated within two years, adding that it will help the government accurately implement empowerment programmes for youths.
The minister insisted that his ministry had been rolling out youth development projects and programmes well before the #EndSARS protest in Nigeria.