Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has indicated that the football pitch of the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, would be privatized to generate funds for the maintenance of the facility, just as he promised that all subsequent matches involving the Super Eagles and other national teams would be played in Abuja.
The Sports Minister made the declaration yesterday during his inspection tour of facilities, his first official visit to the stadium since he assumed office on Wednesday.
Dare said that the turf of the MKO Abiola Stadium was a big concern to Nigerians, adding that big matches are needed to be played at the complex. “We have some matches to play, especially by the Super Eagles, and Nigerians want to know the duration it will take to fix the turf. Is it going to be in days, weeks, months to complete work on the turf?,” Dare asked.
The Sports Minister also said: “We are going to be innovative in trying to see how we can get extra funding. We are going to privatize the football pitch. I don’t want to put a timeline, but it is at the top of the agenda because we know it is taking some time and Nigerians are interested and want these matches to be played here.”
Speaking further, Dare stated that the football pitch would receive priority attention saying: “I looked at the pitch this afternoon, and I looked at the revenue-generating possibility through advertising. We see international stadia all over, and we see that they have different companies advertising over time. A lot of revenue can come from there. So, we are looking at a lot of innovative. We are thinking outside the box, beyond what we get from our budget.
“Football will get the attention it deserves. But let me say, in the same breadth, other sports such as badminton, athletics, table tennis and others in which we have leverage and have budding talents, will also get equal attention.
“We will find a way to make sure that beyond football, we also get other sports to participate.”