March, 23 2023.
The Adopt-an-Athlete- Initiative, which was first launched about three years ago, with the intention of rescuing improving the welfare of Team Nigeria athletes, is set to be fine tuned, and relaunched, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France, and African Games in Accra Ghana.
Sports and Youth Development Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, dropped the hint, at a ceremony where the Practice pitch 1 of the MKO Abiola National Stadium Abuja was adopted by an Abuja-based Estate Developing firm, Afrikings Homes Limited.
The Adopt -an-Athlete-Initiative, was the first component of such initiatives, which also had the Adopt-a-Pitch-Initiative the Ministry of Sports and Youth under the watch of Chief Sunday Dare, first worked on, and it was designed to create a funding pathway for athletes preparing to represent Nigeria at major fiestas like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.
Chief Dare added that having seen the successes of both initiatives, he and the Ministry are happy to build on the solid impact they have made. Hence the need to reinforce the Adopt -an-Athlete-Initiative, and reinvent it, starting from the beginning of next month, when Team Nigeria athletes are to start their preparation towards France 2024 Olympics.
"The Adopt-an-Athlete process will be recommenced, and we will put forward our athletes both the home based and the foreign based, that will fly out banner at the games, then we'll see what we can do for them".
According to Chief Dare, the Adopt a Pitch programme of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth, which started with business mogul, Aliko Dangote adopting and rescuing the pitch of the Main Bowl of the MKO National Stadium Abuja, has made appreciable impact, including the hosting of more than 14 international matches; hence the buy-in by an Estate Developing firm, like Afrikings Homes Ltd. who will carryout the re-grassing of the practice pitch 1 by planting nursery seeds and maintaining it for two years.
The Chairman, Afrikings Homes, Ltd. Kingsley Awodi, said the full re-grassing will take 8 months, after which it would be nurtured and cared for before it is handed over to the ministry.
On the National Stadium in Surulere Lagos, Dare assured that it will also come to life soon, but pleaded for patience to get it right, bearing in mind that during the 19 years the edifice was abandoned, "things rusted, and things got stolen".
He added that happily, work at the Daura Stadium has progressed very well, and the Ministry will be glad to have someone or a corporate body come forward to adopt the pitch.
"We have several football pitches in the country and to give them the maintenance they deserve is challenging, because our budget is limited, but the story should change for the better, with more firms and individuals taking after Afrikings Homes.