“Following the unending crisis which have plagued and nearly crippled the development of basketball in Nigeria, President Buhari has approved the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years. This is with immediate effect,” he said.
According to the Minister, the withdrawal of Nigeria is to concentrate efforts towards revamping the sport from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which have become moribund.
“This will also allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria,” he said.
Dare also reiterated the government’s interest and commitment to the development of the sport of Basketball in Nigeria as well as huge talents of our youth domestically in an atmosphere that is free of rancour and squabbles.
He called on players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as the government embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilize the game of Basketball for growth and success in the long-term interest of the country.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare was present on Wednesday to receive the UEFA Champions League trophy from the Trophy Tour Ambassador Clarence Seedorf at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
Seedorf has been in the country since Tuesday as part of a two-day Heineken UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour.
Seedorf is a four-time winner of the Champions League and also the first player to win the title with three different clubs: Ajax (1995) Real Madrid (1998) and AC Milan (2003, 2007).
Also present at the reception were the former assistant coach of the Super Eagles, Daniel Amokachi, and PSG and Bolton legend Austin Jay-Jay Okocha.
The former coach of Cameroon also paid a cordial visit to the Nigerian female U-17 team, the Flamingoes, as they prepared for Sunday’s meeting with Egypt in the first leg, final round of the African qualifiers leading to the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will give free bus rides to fans as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) approved full capacity for the MKO Abiola Stadium ahead of the 2022 World Cup playoff between Nigeria and Ghana on Tuesday.
A statement by the ministry noted that the buses will be at Keffi, Auta Balefi, Masaka, Maraba, Nyanya, Orozo, Kurudu, Jikoyi, Suleja Madalla, Zuba, and DeiDei.
Other places include Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Lugbe, Mpape, Life Camp, Eagle Square, Old Parade Ground, Area 3, Kabusa, Apo Mechanic, and Gwarinpa – all leading to the Abuja Stadium.
Before then, CAF had okayed 60, 000 spectators for the clash. This is according to the Nigeria Football Federation which also assured safety and security for the make or mar game.
In another statement, the football body said it has, alongside the sports ministry, bought 20,000 tickets for Super Eagles fans.
This is part of the moves to fill up the stands and give the Super Eagles the much-needed support for the game.
“We will buy 20,000 of the tickets and give them to fans at designated centres on Monday and Tuesday morning. We want to ensure maximum support for the Super Eagles by filling up the stands,” the NFF quoted the sports minister, Sunday Dare, to have said after a meeting of the organizing committee for the match.
“The NFF has done well to secure maximum capacity of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium for the match.”
According to the NFF 2nd Vice President, Shehu Dikko, a full house for the Super Eagles will ginger the team to get a ticket for the competition.
“It is a very big match and we need the maximum support for our team. The players have expressed a desire for a full house, just as the Ghanaians had in Kumasi,” he said. “We want to thank the Ministry for initiating this move.”
The first leg of the game ended goalless in Kumasi on Friday.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare; Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Demola Seriki; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, public office holders at federal and state levels on Sunday converged in Lagos to honour the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, with a novelty match in celebration of his 70th birthday.
The novelty match between ex-Super Eagles players and Team Lagos, which took place at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Lagos was attended by former and present members of the National Assembly, Lagos State Executive Council, Lagos State House of Assembly, and local government chairmen, as well as members of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Lagos State APC executive members, among others.
The match, which was attended by Tinubu, who kicked off the game, is part of the programmes organised by the Tinubu Support Group, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, to celebrate the former Lagos State governor’s 70th birthday, which comes up on Tuesday, March 29.
Former Super Eagles Striker, Victor Agali scored two goals for the ex-international team led by Austin Jay Jay Okocha to defeat the Team Lagos, which is made up of former players of Stationery Stores and other clubs in Lagos State.
Agali scored the first goal 10 minutes into the second half from a brilliant pass from Julius Aghahowa. Agali then netted the second goal 12 minutes later after heading a cross from Austin Okocha who displayed brilliant dribbling skills during the match.
The ex-internationals team also included Nwankwo Kanu, Peter Rufai, Ike Shorunmu, Taribo West, Garba Lawal, Mutiu Adepoju, Victor Ikpeba, and Abiodun Obafemi, among others.
Team Lagos was captained by the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Mudashiri Obasa. Other members were Waidi Akanni, Godwin Okpara, Friday Ekpo, Sanni Doherty, Akeem Ogunlade, Wasiu Ipaye, Taiwo Oloyede, Yusuf Ayinla, and Alhaji Gafar, among others.
Prior to the novelty match between the ex-international and Team Lagos, there was a football match between Team Abuja comprising members of the National Assembly and Team B, made of up members of the Lagos State Executive Council, House of Assembly, and council chairmen.
The Team Manager for Team Abuja was a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Hon. James Faleke, while Team Lagos was led by the Chief of Staff to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Tayo Ayinde.
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Super Eagles to go all out against Tunisia in their last 16 game at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Buhari said this in a Zoom meeting with the team from the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Sunday. He was in the meeting with the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
“I want to thank you for what you have done for the nation so far. You have to keep winning. Nigerians are proud of you,” Buhari said, according to a statement by presidential aide, Femi Adesina.
“You have demonstrated patriotic zeal and a high level of discipline, determination, and commitment in all the games you have played so far and that is why we all are happy with you. The Government will continue to support you within available resources at our disposal.”
While thanking the president, the team’s coach, Austin Eguavoen, assured that the Super Eagles will put on the same attitude displayed during the group phase.
“We are so excited that His Excellency, President Buhari, has come to speak with us this morning. On behalf of the players and the technical crew, I want to say thank you very much, sir,” the former defender added.
“The group stage has passed, and your speaking to us is a morale booster. Thank you for your support, Mr President, we also thank the Hon. Minister, and the NFF President. We are so privileged and want to promise that you should just relax, we’ll come out victorious. We won’t let the nation down.”
The Federal Government has fixed the National Sports Festival for November 2 to 15, 2022 in Delta State following the resolution of the Technical Committee of the National Council on Sports.
Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, disclosed this on Monday in Asaba, the Delta State Capital during the extra-ordinary National Council on Sports Meeting and Inauguration of LOC for the hosting of the National Sports Festival.
He described Delta State as the incubator of talents for the nation’s sports development, noting that the successes of Nigeria in sports won’t be complete without the contribution of the oil-rich state and the giant strides of her athletes.
“Therefore, this meeting today puts us at the cusp of another National Sports Festival (NSF) which we refer to as our own Olympics,” he said.
“The National Council on Sports meeting today has become necessary in order to update Council on developments, and deliberations on issues that concern the hosting of the 21st National Sports Festival which Delta State had earlier won the rights to host in November 2022″.
“Interestingly, Delta State came first at the recently concluded Edo 2020. Now, we are happy that they have the opportunity not just to host, but to validate their first position.
“Arising from the award of the hosting rights to Delta State, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has continued to engage the Host State on the need to fine-tune the road map in preparation for the NSF.”
According to Dare, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will continue to collaborate with the Delta State Government with the view to ensuring the successful hosting of the games.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari administration for the progressive and giant stride ideas put in place to drive sports development and the entire ecosystem in the country.
This is even as the Minister noted that sports development under the current government has attained a new and impressive height which has invariably secured a seat at the table when it comes to allocation of resources as an area of business.
He stated further that his ministry in collaboration with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), have established a Department in the Ministry that is solely responsible for National Sports Festival and Para-Sports.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday opened a probe into the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping.
During the plenary, the lower chamber resolved to summon the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, to explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
The resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary titled, “Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on [the] Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
While moving the motion, the lawmaker representing Ijesa South Federal Constituency of Osun, Babatunde Ayeni, said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating the comity of nations.
He recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian football team at the 1996 Olympics where the country bagged a historic first soccer gold medal at the Centennial Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
Consequently, the lawmakers resolved to “Invite the Minister Youth and Sports Development to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
They also asked, “the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions.”
Similarly, the House mandated its Committee on Sports to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrences.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has announced cash awards for Team Nigeria athletes who win medals at the ongoing World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya where 200 countries are competing. Nigeria is 3rd on the medals table so far.
Dare had charged and promised the athletes before the Championships began that those who do the nation proud will be handsomely rewarded, a statement that has now seen the light of day.
The cash awards announced will see the athletes receive $5000 for Gold, $3000 for Silver and $2000 for Bronze medals.
Already by the close of Day 4, Nigeria had recorded her best ever outing in history at the Championships with 3 Gold and 2 Bronze medals.
This medal haul has moved Nigeria to third place on the medals table behind the hosts Kenya and surprise package Finland.
Nigeria’s Mixed 4×400m relay team started the gold rush before Imaobong Nse Uko(400m women) and Udodi Onwuzurike (200m men)won the finals of their events in dominant fashion.
Favour Ofili (200m women) and Chinacherem Nnamdi (Javelin) won Team Nigeria’s Bronze medals.
There are expectations of more podium finishes for Team Nigeria in the 4×100m (men and women) and 4×400m (women) relays on Sunday, the final day of the Championships.
Medal-winning athletes of Team Nigeria at the just concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan were also given cash awards, with the Federal Government tripling the amount the athletes got in previous Olympics.
This is however the first time that athletes to the World Athletics U20 Championships would ever be financially rewarded for their performances.
The Minister for Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare has lauded Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team for their historic feat at the ongoing World Athletics U-20 Championship in Nairobi, Kenya.
The winning team, comprised of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke, and Bamidele Ajayi, set a 3:19.70 African and Championship record to become the first winners of the event at the championship.
It was also Nigeria’s first medal in the championship which began on Wednesday in Kenya.
The delighted Sports Minister advised the athletics body to take the victory as a springboard in restoring the country’s past glory.
“I want to specially congratulate our U-20 team for making history in Nairobi. This gold is for all Nigerians and this should serve as the perfect start the new board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria needs to correct the ills of the immediate past and return Nigeria among the major athletics nations in the world,” he said.
The medal is also Nigeria’s first relay gold medal in the championship and Mr. Dare is optimistic that the dominance in “our area of strength” had just begun.
“I remember how dominant we were in the early years of the championship when we dominated the sprint and quarter-mile events. I still vividly recall how Tina Iheagwan, Falilat Ogunkoya, and Mary Onyali dominated the 100m and 200m events at the inaugural edition of the championship in Athens, Greece in 1986,” he further stated.
“I am calling on the AFN to ensure the athletes discovered here are monitored and given the necessary encouragement to make them follow in the footsteps of their predecessors like Ogunkoya, Onyali, Ese Brume, Chioma Ajunwa, and Blessing Okagbare who grew to become individual Olympic medallists for Nigeria.”
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has blamed the rising unemployment in the country on the dwindling resources.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday to mark International Youth Day, the Sports Minister said the country has witnessed dwindling resources to cater for the over 200 million Nigerians, in which the majority of the population are the youths.
“Without giving an excuse, it boils down to resources. We have seen government resources over time dwindle,” the Minister said in reaction to the rising figures in the unemployment rate in the country.
“When you also go to other countries where you find unemployment stabilise for a while, it is a collaborative effort on the part of the government, private corporations and the international NGOs working together.”
On efforts made by the current administration in empowering the youths, Dare explained that the Federal Government is committed to equipping young Nigerians with the requisite skills – vocational and technical – stressing that it is the future of jobs as recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations.
While noting that most jobs involve people acquiring the needed digital skills, the Minister noted that the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “is making sure that we provide our youths with the digital skills that they need to compete.”
Nigeria relies on crude oil which accounts for about 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 70% of government revenue and more than 83% of the country’s total export earnings, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Africa’s most populous nation is the world’s 8th oil exporter, and its oil reserves are estimated at about 35 billion barrels.
However, oil fell below $70 a barrel on Wednesday as the United States urged OPEC and its oil-producing partners to boost output; saying current production was not enough and could threaten the global economic recovery.
Similarly, the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected several countries of the world, with billions budgeted to cushion the effect on economies.
Not wanting to add to the public distraction, I have deliberately waited until the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games before making any observations regarding the various reports on Nigeria’s participation in the quadrennial games.
2. This was out of respect for our athletes who had committed so much effort and made such considerable personal sacrifice in order to represent our nation as best as they could. Overall, we should be proud of Team Nigeria and the effort they made. The bottom line is that these games should always be about the athletes and the spirit of friendly competition and excellence the Olympics are meant to engender.
3. Sadly, some people seem not to have embraced either the good cause of our national athletic pursuits or the collegial and noble spirit that the Olympics promote.
4. The rancour and confusion some people seem intent on sowing are terribly out of place given the impressive performance of our team and good spirit with which they performed. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now over, which means we can begin to honestly and objectively assess what was accomplished as well as what we must do to improve performance for future contests.
5. Nigeria succeeded with two (2) medals – a silver in wrestling won by Blessing Oborodudu and a bronze in long jump won by Ese Brume. Their performances were inspiring for they affirmed we can and should compete at the highest levels across the full range of sports events. Yes, we had wished and worked for more medals. But we must also put things in perspective. The medal outcome at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stands as Nigeria’s best result in the last 13 years.
6. Moreover, the athletes of Team Nigeria did their nation proud. Many of them reached the finals of their respective sports and, competing with all they had, were in contention for medals until the final moment. Anyone who saw their efforts would have nothing but the utmost respect for them, their coaches, and all the technical staff that made Tokyo possible.
7. I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his unrelenting support for Sports and Youth development and indeed for the opportunity to serve and lead our participation at these games. Team Nigeria placed 74th position on the final Olympic medal table among 205 participating countries, despite our small contingent to the games. We were 8th among 52 African countries that participated. Team Nigeria excelled in many areas that engender hope for greater success in the future.
8. Nigeria had five Olympic finalists in 100 meters Hurdles Women, Short Put, Long jump, Wrestling, and 100 meters men. Team Nigeria broke the 13-year-old jinx of no medal in Long jump and 25 years of no finalist in the men’s 100 meters and secured a medal in wrestling for the very first time. Overall, our performance was good, and more importantly, it is headed in the right direction.
9. While the general trends and overall performance were positive, I must mention two unfortunate incidents that occurred.
10. First is the mishap resulting in 10 Team Nigeria athletes being ruled ineligible to compete for missing their mandatory Out of Competition Test, OTC. When notice of this ruling got to me, I immediately mobilized my team and the AFN leadership to see how the situation could be salvaged. We mounted a vigorous appeal process with the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, and had the team members complete the tests. However, timing became a critical issue. Despite our energetic appeal, the deciding committee made its announcement which gave no latitude to our team members for what was only an inadvertent lapse.
11. The adverse decision was painful to accept. We had prepared carefully and eagerly for the Olympics with the expectation that each person, federation, coach, and athlete would also complete the necessary preparations required of them. As Minister, I ensured that all necessary approvals were done so that all requisite tests and exams could be timely completed. For me, this unfortunate incident is most painful because these athletes had prepared long and hard and also in view of the challenging circumstances due to COVID-19.
12. As the Minister I must bear some institutional responsibility for this lapse. I also had to depend and expect that each person in the long and often technical chain will perform their role expeditiously and with precision. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone failed in their responsibility and as Minister, I bear the responsibility and brunt of criticism. But that is not enough. I must move to ensure that Nigeria never experiences another such moment. I have ordered a full investigation that will not only uncover what happened but will also, recommend a process where such lapses can never occur in the future and initiate leveraging compliance monitoring technology to guardrail this.
13. I have personally apologized to the affected athletes. Here and now, I personally apologize to all Nigerians for this ineligibility episode. The AFN has also taken responsibility and apologized to the athletes and to Nigerians. 14. Already, a new Medical and Anti-Doping Commission has been set up to establish a foolproof system of testing and ensure Nigeria exits the A Categorization by WADA.
Also, Blessing Okagbare remains one of our best athletes who has served Nigeria well. We empathize with her. Nigeria will monitor closely developments around her temporary suspension and appeal.
15. The second issue had to do with the apparel provided for the team.
16. The Ministry’s responsibility and that of the 38 National Sporting Federations, NSFs of kitting are well spelled out. The production of general wears for Team Nigeria is always the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. Procurement for the Competition Wear is the responsibility of the respective federations because of the fact that each sport requires specialized outfits. Boxing, Wrestling, Athletics, and each of the federations need different gears. The Ministry provides budgetary support to the federations.
17. The quantity of competition wears given to each athlete is the decision of the particular federation. No complaints came to my notice until the Tik Tok Video posted by one of the athletes went viral. We Immediately stepped in to manage the situation. The Federation involved has been directed to provide a detailed explanation about the kit.
18. Team Nigeria was properly kitted for the games with a 9-item backpack using a local manufacturer in harmony with President Buhari’s policy on local content.
19. Before any federation which is a component of Team Nigeria however wears any brand, it must refer to the Ministry and the NOC for clearance and approval. The Ministry and NOC must be fully aware of the contract details by the Federation to protect the rights and freedoms of the athletes and ensure Nigeria’s interests are protected. In this situation, the Ministry wishes to state that the contractual arrangement between AFN and Puma prior to the Olympic Games has generated a lot of controversy between the former President of the Federation and the former Board members. I will not want to go into too many details on this issue because it is sub judice. Suffice it to say that the Ministry was not part of the agreement. The Tik Tok video on the issue was an attempt to create a media frenzy to embarrass Nigeria.
20. Following from the above, the issue relating to the competition wears vis a vis the alleged arrangement with Puma is most unfortunate. I have demanded a proper investigation into this matter. Such an inquiry will unearth the truth about how some people tried to sabotage Nigeria’s participation and undermine the country and our Olympic athletes.
21. On assumption of office as Minister of Youth and Sports 2 years ago, I began a gradual reformation of the National Sports Federations, NSFs. For years, a few of these federations were very badly run. These reforms will take time. There already is and will be stiff resistance from some quarters, which is what we are witnessing now. But we are resolute to establish better sport’s management, a legacy President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous of bequeathing to our sports development.
22. There is much to hope for the future. In Tokyo, most of our athletes were young and debutants – first-time Olympians. 23. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics experience will move and challenge me to push our sports to a higher level and seek a better condition for all our athletes.
24. Team Nigeria went to Tokyo 2020 and competed against the best in the world. Two Olympics medals and a statistical performance that has a place in the history of our Olympic participation despite being one of our smallest contingents. We can perform even much better if we all hold onto the lessons learned.
25. I remain grateful to all the athletes that so represented Nigeria well.
The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has expressed his thanks and appreciation to the players and technical crew of Nigeria’s national men’s basketball team after the team’s campaign at the Olympic Games came to an end on Saturday.
“My thanks and appreciations go to the players and coaching staff of the D’Tigers,” said the Minister. “They represented Nigeria impressively and we thank them for their resilience, efforts, and their patriotic commitment.”
D’Tigers lost 80-71 to Italy to crash out of the men’s basketball event of the Tokyo Olympics but their performances before and during the Olympics give room for many to be optimistic about the future of the team led by United States-born coach Mike Brown.
D’Tigers comprised entirely of players making their debut at the Olympics, while some were participating in an international championship for the first time.
“They came and gave a good account of themselves to the world that Nigeria will compete amongst the best basketball nations,” continued the Minister. “And to Mike Brown and the coaching staff, thank you for building this team and your faith in the team.”
He added: “You have performed tremendously well and Nigerians thank you sincerely.”
In a similar vein, Musa Kidda, the caretaker president of the Nigerian Basketball Federation, has expressed his gratitude to the men’s national basketball team for representing Nigeria “very well” at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
D’Tigers, on Saturday, lost 80-71 to Italy to crash out of the men’s basketball event of the Tokyo Olympics.
They had lost earlier in the tournament to Australia and Germany, but the performance in general from D’Tigers, a team comprised entirely of players making their debut at the Olympics, gives cause to hope of greater things to come from the African champions.
“D’Tigers, it’s been such a long journey in such a short time,” began a message from the NBBF boss Kidda. “You have all done very well as athletes, coaches, and technical staff within the context of challenges we had to overcome.
“As President of NBBF, I would like to personally say thanks to all of you for representing your country Nigeria very well and assure you that Nigeria is proud of your efforts and staying power as a group.”
He added: “We need to stay together and continue building on what we have done here as African representatives. We shall definitely do better as we are stronger. Stay safe and strong guys.”