President Muhamamdu Buhari has expressed optimism that the membership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick in the FIFA Executive Council will provide benefits that will lead to the advancement of football in Africa and Nigeria.
President Buhari spoke yesterday while receiving the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare and Pinnick, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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The President, who again congratulated the NFF boss on his election into the strategic body that sets the vision for global football, assured him of Nigeria’s support in his new position.
‘‘The position on the Council of the world’s football governing body, FIFA, comes at a time when Nigeria is determined to turn the fortunes of her sports development around through better infrastructure, more investment both public and private government incentives.
“Without prejudice to the continental nature of your assignment at the Council, I urge you to use your position to ensure Nigeria’s sporting image receives a boost.
‘‘I know this position will assist Nigeria get technical and financial support from FIFA and your position should create a platform for other Nigerians to enter into the FIFA family and other international Sports Federations,’’ he said.
The President in a statement issued by his spokesman Femi Adesina urged the NFF to work with the Sport ministry and football stakeholders to provide Nigeria with a 10-year Football Master Plan that will ensure youth football development, in line with FIFA’s commitment.
In his remarks, Dare thanked the President for his support for sports development in the country, and for approving the reclassification of sports as business, instead of mere recreation.
He promised that a new draft policy on the sports industry was almost ready, as well as a 10-year master plan for football at all levels.
Pinnick also lauded President Buhari for his support for football. He said “Without you, I couldn’t have won election into FIFA Council. Your name is highly respected across the continent.”