Gianni Infantino, Patrice Motsepe, President Muhammadu Buhari

Gianni Infantino, Patrice Motsepe

President Buhari Pledges To Use Soccer For National Devt, Unity

President Buhari Pledges To Use Soccer For National Devt, Unity

9/16/2021 7:19:00 PM

President Buhari Pledges To Use Soccer For National Devt, Unity

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja declared his administration’s commitment to use the game of football for the development of the girl-child,

The President also told the visiting FIFA president, who is in the country for the six-nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament, that since 2017 his administration had adopted football as a national asset.He explained that the sport is being accorded the highest level of attention possible by the government to enable rapid development of abundant talents in the country.

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‘‘I have also approved the unveiling of a committee to draw up a 10 year football development master plan for the country.‘‘I expect that the recommendations of this committee will accelerate the development of football. It is my hope that it will further improve the fortunes of the game internationally,” he said.

On the Aisha Buhari Cup (ABC), with the theme “Playing for Good”, which is on-going in Lagos, the Nigerian leader said the tournament could not have come at a better time.‘‘This Women’s football competition is a novel idea here and I am sure it will be exciting in its execution for our women folk and lovers of football.

‘‘It is also a confirmation of what we already know about our women,’’ he added.The President thanked FIFA for making ABC, a ranking tournament, adding that he looks forward to more countries joining to participate in the future.President Buhari, who described football as one of the greatest sources of unity in the country as well as in many parts of the world, said:

‘‘Our hearts beat as one anytime our teams are playing a football match. Our youth are always positively engaged when our national football teams are on assignment.‘‘Without any doubts here, football is a major tool of national unity,’’ he stressed.President Buhari commended the enormous work done by the organisation in the development of football, using it as a tool for positive social change and to drive global unity.

He pledged support for the latest FIFA initiative, the FIFA Connect programme which aims to drive football development at the grassroots using technology, assuring football body’s top echelon of Nigeria’s active participation in the programme.Emphasising Nigeria’s huge pedigree in global and continental football, the President said the country has achieved successes in many international and continental competitions while maintaining close, cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with FIFA.

‘‘Nigeria is one of the few nations of the world that has participated in all FIFA competitions, at all the different levels for both men and women.‘‘These have opened doors of opportunities for a lot of our young boys and girls, men and women to have rewarding careers in the game,’’ he said.

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In his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said Nigeria, as the leading black nation in the world, was central to all that FIFA is seeking to achieve in its football development plan.‘‘We love football and we follow the game passionately,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Infantino renewed FIFA’s commitment to support the development of football in Nigeria, pledging to strengthen its partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation.‘‘Nigeria is a big football playing country. We need Nigeria to lead the football movement in the world, together with Africa as a continent,’’ he said.

The FIFA president thanked President Buhari for supporting the development of the game, appealing to him to help FIFA amplify the message of football as a uniting force.‘‘When football is played there are no divisions in a nation or continent. Football brings people together and to do that we need important countries like Nigeria,’’ he stated.

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