By Akin Bolarinwa
The state of Nigerian sports in the last one year could be described as commendable, heartwarming, thriving and developing. The nation’s sports sector has received so much attention under the minister of sports, Sunday Dare who is set to do much more in coming years.
Nigerian sports was in disarray with scandals and allegations of corruption before Sunday Dare took over as minister with some sports blacklisted by the International Federations.
The sports sector had no clear path to the development and lacked maintenance of facilities and paucity of funds contributed to the fall of the sports sector despite it’s huge potentials
Sunday Dare was still in the telecommunications sector when the sports industry became the stomping ground for bad publicity and negativity owing to ineptitude on the part of some sports administrators.
Most of the sports Federations were in distress due lack of sponsorship
with the exception of sports like, Wrestling Handball, Athletics, Football, Basketball and Volleyball.
NFF was the biggest hit and the situation was salvaged by Dare Sunday when he became minister. The numerous court cases and litigations almost made the NFF ungovernable as some individuals where determined to drag the most loved sport in the mud due to perceived corruption in the federation.
Minister, Sunday Dare also saved the nation from international embarrassment when the World Athletics body $130,000 became a scandal.
Looking at the future one could boldly assert that the sports sector has done very well according to the achievements of current minister of sports in the last 365 days.
The minister started on a good like an house on fire and he has taken right steps, which if sustained, could lead take the country back to the world map in sports.
Assessing the performance of Nigerian sports in the past year shouldn’t measured by just only sports (football) out about 45 sports Federations, however since football is the king of all sports then we can boldly say the 3rd place achievement in last Afcon outing in Egypt is a plus and not a minus.
There could have been more achievements but no thanks to the deadly pandemic that impeded on all sporting activities.
Sunday Dare is working hard on several fronts with initiatives to stabilise and improve sports in the country.
Stakeholders should give the minister time to fully develop and implement his policies for the betterment of our sports.
The Minister is still committed to his three key agenda for sports, which are facilities upgrading, athletes development and sports management, his agenda is private sector driven and he has combed the sector canvassing for sponsorship from corporate Nigerians.
Already some athletes have given the minister a pass mark for his athletes relief fund for over 220 sportsmen and women whom were beneficiaries.
Stakeholders believe the minister has done well also in area of grassroots sports development.
Sunday Dare is taking his time to restructure the sports sector and his success story continues after one calendar year.