Director General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Oluwatoyin Gafar, on Tuesday said that the delay in the hand-over of Onikan Stadium currently going through remodeling was to allow the contractor to deliver a befitting stadium.
Concise News reports that Gafar made the disclosure in an interview with NAN.
The Onikan Stadium, formerly named King George was built in 1930 and located on Lagos Island close to the Tafawa Balewa Square was also renovated in the 1930s.
The stadium is famous for being home ground for top Nigerian clubs such as Stationery Stores FC, First Bank and Julius Berger FC all Lagos-based and has a sitting capacity of 5,000.
The Stadium also played host to the 1999 Youth World Cup, hosted by Nigeria and will now host another international competition if Nigeria’s bid to host the U-20 Women World Cup scales through.
Gafar said that the stadium was important to the state, adding that it would have been turned to a place of pride for Africa upon completion.
“I will not give a definite date for the completion of the Onikan Stadium.
“We are working on it and I know that the contractor handling the project is doing a good job.
“The stadium is about 70 to 80 per cent completed and it will be completed very soon; it is not our own to determine the completion date, ours is just to monitor the work.
“What we are expecting is a delivery of a befitting stadium that is going to be of international standard that all of us in Africa will be proud of,’’ he said.
Sports Ministry to choose 6 varsities as centres of excellence — Minister
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the ministry is to choose six universities in the six geo political zones as centres of sporting excellence.
The minister, who said this on Tuesday in Ilorin while speaking with newsmen, said universities are prime candidates considering their multi sports facilities in one location.
“We plan to identify one university in each of the six geopolitical zones and confer on them centres of excellence.
“There will be a committee to look into the entries. The chosen universities will have partnership with the ministry and will be linked with other universities in Europe and America.
“Private investors would come into the universities to build facilities,” the minister said.
Citing examples of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, that had given trials to talented students seeking admission, Dare said the scheme would build durable partnership between sports and academics.
This, he added, would ensure that potential national athletes equally access the best of education.
The minister explained that funding was the main challenge facing sports development in Nigeria, adding that expectations from Nigerians were very high.
“Nigeria is a sports loving nation, and though sports development in this country has had challenges, there is hope for a brighter future.
“Sports development has had a trajectory truncation because of funding but there has never been dearth of talents in Nigeria.
“We look forward to corporate bodies coming in to support sports development. We want to see corporate organisations come to build stadia and invest in sports.
“We intend to harness the talents, build technical capacity. We want to build a new generation of coaches, athletes and technical officials.
“We want to build a business model around sports because sports is a big business and we intend to make it big business in Nigeria,” Dare said.