Thursday, August 5, 2021

Don’t shut down Nigerian football, Bassey pleads with Solomon Dalung

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Minister of Youth and Sport, Solomon Dalung and NFF President, Amanju Pinnick.

Veteran sports administrator, Paul Bassey has urged Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung to let the sleeping dog lie and allow for dynamic and enduring sports development in the country.

Rather than stoking the embers of discord in Nigerian football, Bassey, who is a Senior Special Adviser to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Sports, advised Dalung to lay a foundation that would aid genuine sports development in the country.

Speaking yesterday in a radio programme, where he presented Governor Emmanuel’s scorecard and achievements in sports development, Bassey said: “I don’t understand why the minister of youth and sports is bent on shutting down football in the country, even when the Vice President stepped in to avoid FIFA ban.

“Please the minister should let us be, the damage has already been done.”

He said Governor Emmanuel’s strides in sports development earned him Governor of the Year in Sports Development and Infrastructure award in 2017.

“The future of sports in Nigeria is here in Akwa Ibom State… the state
contributed 12 athletes to the national camp, eight of them made it to the African Youth Games in Algeria, where four of them won medals for the country.

“The governor wants us to develop the youths of Akwa Ibom and expose them to the world,” he added.

He noted that because of the governor’s huge investment in sports, the state has gotten international attention from within and outside the country.

On Akwa United FC, where he is the chairman, Bassey acknowledged that in Governor Udom’s last three years, the club has represented the country twice in continental competitions.

“Governor Udom Emmanuel challenged me to come back home and used my knowledge and connections around the world to develop sports in the state.

“Akwa United has tested the Aiteo Cup and wants to test it again and return to the continent. We want to make Akwa United FC a big brand that our people will be proud of,” he enthused.

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