Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare said the Federal Government will recommend the modern sports arena in Sokoto State for international sporting events when completed.
Dare, who was led to the sports arena by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, said in an interview with reporters after inspecting the sports facility being constructed.
He described the stadium’s sports facilities as massive and impressive, and stressed that they met international standards.
“What I’ve seen here is quite impressive. The models used here meet international standards. I’m pretty confident and I know what I’m saying.
“I have seen quite a few stadiums since I became a minister, but at the level of a state government, investing in such a sports complex is impressive.
“I saw the indoor gym or the multipurpose room. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest. Even the one built by the federal government doesn’t have that size and capacity.
“I saw the multi-sport arrangements made in the multipurpose hall. The capacity of the stadium — 11,000 — is impressive. I’ve seen engineering and brick and water work being done here.
Dare said that with what he saw, the federal government could comfortably offer the stadium to be certified to host continental and international matches.
“With what we have seen here meeting international standards, the federal government will put this in place as one of the sports facilities that will be recommended for international events.
“We have a similar one in Edo and another in Lagos State. We are happy to have the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja back in operation and when you look at it we need a lot more for a country of our size, 220 million, for the reputation we have as a sporting nation.
“The number of sports facilities we have represents just under 20% of what we need.
“So when we have state governments, having that kind of investment is very important because the resources could have been used for something else.
“This facility is going to be used for years. This will not only serve the people of Sokoto State, it will also serve the various generations of our youth who will come from this state and the nation,” the Minister said.
He praised the state governor for investing in the stadium, saying the investment was not only in the sport but also in the youth of Sokoto State, northern states and also the country .
Dare noted that 68% of those involved in sports in Nigeria are between the ages of 12 and 35.
“So when you invest in infrastructure like this, you are investing in the present and the future.”
The Minister expressed his belief that when completed, the facility would keep the youths busy, generate revenue for the state and promote the unity of the state and Nigeria.
“This is a project not just for Sokoto State, but a project that goes into the reckoning of the Federal Government of Nigeria to help and keep our youth busy.
“I also believe that through this facility we will have young athletes who will compete, represent Nigeria and be part of our team at the Commonwealth Games, African Games, Olympics and other international competitions,” said Dare.
In his brief remarks, Tambuwal assured that the Minister’s observations would be taken into account in the execution and cost of the project which was initially N3.5 billion.
Some of the facilities inspected by the minister include the 2,000-capacity indoor games room.
It should accommodate all indoor sports activities, such as lawn tennis, hockey, badminton, squash, among others, when completed.(NAN)