Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that football remains the number one sport in the country and a national asset, and that his administration will resist any attempts to undermine its development.
Buhari made the pledge while receiving the country’s 10-year Football Development Masterplan submitted by Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare in the capital Abuja, describing football as “our passion and a major tool for unity”.
The Nigeria Football 10-Year Masterplan (2022-2032) identified 15 key areas of challenge and provided practical recommendations to address issues that have stunted football’s development in the country.
“Just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility, and commitment from those charged with the administration of our football, I also urge all stakeholders to work together constructively and patriotically,” the Nigerian leader said.
Buhari ordered the country’s football authorities to begin the implementation of short- and medium-term plans, saying this will signal a positive turning point for football and a major step forward in the bid to create a conducive environment for its sustainability, viability, and profitability in Nigeria.
He described the governance structure around Nigeria’s domestic league as “weak”, adding that standards are compromised.
“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,” the president said.
“This government is interested in developing a football culture that will accommodate global best practices that will also help the nation to lay a solid foundation for her domestic football, put in place professionally and efficiently run leagues, entrench a consistent and stable football calendar and create a value chain which will boost the sports ecosystem,” he added.