Nigeria, Spain Agree To Collaborate For Sports Development

Sep 16, 2023 - 14:36
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Nigeria, Spain Agree To Collaborate For Sports Development

The Nigerian government has expressed its desire to collaborate with Spain and other countries of the world in the field of Sports, with a view to ensuring that its huge sporting potentials are tapped for the socio-economic growth and development of the nation.


The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh stated this in his office at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, when he received the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Juan Ignacio Sell.


According to him, Spain was undoubtedly a renowned country in the field of Sports, especially its Football League, the Spanish La Liga, a feat which the present administration is interested in replicating in the country.


Sports diplomacy, Senator Enoh said, has become a very potent weapon in global diplomacy, and the President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration, having recognised Nigeria's huge sporting potentials, created the Ministry of Sports Development with a mandate to work assiduously towards ensuring that these  potentials are harvested and adequately deployed so as not only to enable the country join the comity of Sporting nations of the world but also provide for job creation, poverty alleviation, security and inclusiveness through women participation in  sports. 


"The potentials of sports in Nigeria is huge, the present administration intends to turn this potential to achievements, to go beyond the world of potentials and also make Nigeria become a renowned country in the field of sports", he added.


The Minister, who was earlier presented with a copy of an MoU that was signed by the previous administration, assured the Spanish Ambassador of Federal Government's determination to collabobate with other nations of the world, especially in the area of  Sports development.


He explained that the resolutions contained in the MoU will be looked at so as to identify areas of mutual  benefit to both nations.


Speaking earlier, the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Juan Ignacio Sell, stated that he was in the Ministry to congratulate the Minister on his appointment and to further seek for collaboration with Nigeria in the field of sports.


According to him, Nigeria is a country that has high  potentials in Sports that can be harnessed and if adequately tapped, the country will join the comity of Sporting nations. 


He expressed the willingness of his country to collaborate with Nigeria, not only to harness its sporting potentials but also to turn them into achievements for the benefit of both countries.


In another development, the Federal government has charged Football stakeholders to synergise for its development. 


In its avowed determination to ensure the development of the sports sector, the Federal Government has called on stakeholders in football to ensure that they work in synergy with a view to harnessing the country's huge potentials in the game. 


The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, gave the charge in his office at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja when he had an interactive session with officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Nigerian Referees Association (NRA) and Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL). 


He stated that the interaction was imperative at this point in time that Nigeria is preparing for the 2023 African Cup of Nations, (AFCON) competition holding early next year.


According to him, synergizing for the purpose of developing the game will not only open up the opportunities inherent in the industry but also provide the country with the opportunity for proper officiating representation during global competitions.


He explained that Sports is a unifying factor in Nigeria and therefore the President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration is committed to the development of the sector not only as a recreation but with a view to creating jobs, reducing poverty, enhancing security as well as providing opportunity for women participation in Sports and football in particular.


"Sports means a lot to  President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as millions of Nigerians, specifically, football unites the people irrespective of their tribe, religion or cultural affiliations", the Minister noted.


Senator Owan Enoh informed that it is in the light of this, that this engagement was conveyed to seek solutions and the way forward to the non-inclusion of the country's officiating representation at the 2023 CAF competition.


While urging the stakeholders to ensure inclusivity by working assiduously towards putting up durable structures at the grassroots for both female and male participation in football, the Minister assured that government will continue to create an enabling environment for the development of sports in Nigeria. 


He therefore called on them as critical stakeholders in football development in the country, to join hands with the government in finding solutions to the issues surrounding the non-inclusion of the country's representation at the 2023 CAF competition. 


Earlier, the leader of the Team and Chairman, Nigeria Premier Football League, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, commended the Minister for the engagement, noting that it was the first time a Minister of Sports was calling for such an interaction with a view to finding solutions to issues surrounding the non-inclusion of the country's officiating representation at a competition. 

 
He assured that the Team will go back to the drawing board to ensure they brainstorm on the way forward and thereafter submit their recommendations to the government.


Report by Goodluck Ikiebe

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