By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the Federal Government will recommend the Sokoto State Modern Stadium for international sports events when completed.
Dare, who was led to the Sports Arena by Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, stated this while speaking with journalists after inspecting the sports facility undergoing construction.
He described the sports facilities at the stadium as massive and impressive, and pointed out that they met international standards.
“What I have seen here is quite impressive. The templates being used here meet international standards. I am pretty confident and I know what I am saying.
“I have seen quite a number of stadia since I became minister, but at the level of a state government, investing in such a sports complex is impressive.
“I have seen the indoor sports hall or multipurpose hall. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest. Even the one built by the federal government is not of this size and capacity.
“I have seen the multi-sports provisions made in the multi-purpose hall. The capacity of the stadium — 11,000 — is impressive. I have seen the engineering and the brick and water works being done here.”
Dare said that with what he had seen the federal government could comfortably put the stadium forward to get certified to host both continental and international games.
“With what we have seen here, meeting international standards, the Federal Government will put up this as one of the sports infrastructure that will be recommended for international events
“We have a similar one in Edo, and another one in Lagos State. We are glad that the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja is back on stream and when you look at it, we need so many more for a country of our size, 220 million, for the reputation we have as a sports nation.
“The number of sports infrastructure we have is just less than 20 per cent of what we need.
“So, when we have state governments having this kind of investment is very important because the resources could have been used for something else
“This facility is going to be used for years to come. It will not just serve the people of Sokoto State, it will also serve different generations of our youths that will come from this state and the nation,” the minister said.
He commended the state governor for investing in the stadium, saying investment was not just in sports, but also in the youths of Sokoto State, the northern states and also the country.
Dare noted that 68 per cent of those involved in sports in Nigeria were between the ages of 12 to 35.
“So, when you invest in infrastructure like this you invest in the present and the future.”
The minister expressed the belief that when completed the facility would keep the youths busy, generate revenue for the state, as well as foster unity in the state and Nigeria.
“This is a project not just for Sokoto State, but a project that comes into the calculation of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards helping our youths, and keeping them busy.
“I also believe that through this facility we are going to have young athletes that will compete, represent Nigeria and be part of our team to the Commonwealth Games, the African Games, the Olympics and other international competitions,” Dare said.
In his brief remarks, Tambuwal assured that the minister’s observations would be factored into the execution and cost of the project which was initially at N3.5 billion.
Some of the facilities inspected by the minister include the 2,000-capacity indoor games hall.
It is expected to accommodate all the indoor sports activities, such as lawn tennis, hockey, badminton, squash, among others, when completed. (NAN)
By Emmanuel Oloniruha