Buhari Hosts FIFA Boss, Says Football a Critical Tool for National Unity
EMERGENCY DIGEST- President Muhammadu Buhari has described Football as one unique sport that unites Nigerians irrespective of their tribe, culture or religion.
The President disclosed this today at the State House Abuja, when the President of the World Football Governing Body (FIFA), Gianni Infantino visited him, led by the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare.
A statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mohammed Manga, revealed that, President Buhari described football as one of the greatest sources of unity in the country as well as in many parts of the world, stating further that “our hearts beat ask one, including anytime our teams are playing a football match”.
“Without any doubt, football is a major tool for national unity. Our youth are positively engaged when our national football teams are on assignment”, he emphasized.
President Buhari assured that his administration would continue to support FIFA’s initiatives – the FIFA connect programme, which aims at driving football development at the grassroots, using technology.
He noted that his administration would utilize football for the development of the girl-child so as to inspire young people towards having rewarding careers in the game and thus improve socio-economic development.
The President also informed the FIFA President on the 6-Nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament that since 2017, his administration had adopted football as a national asset.
He added that sports are being accorded the highest level of attention possible by his administration to enable the rapid development of the abundant talented youth in the country.
President Buhari urged the leadership of the world football governing body to consider Nigeria top on its plan for support and investment.
Speaking earlier, the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its commitment to the development of football and sporting infrastructure in Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria has shown serious commitment to football by providing funding and creating a conducive environment for the development and growth of the game.
“We, as FIFA, are excited to be in a country where the Government, the Minister and the Football Federation are working with private investors like Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is investing in football. This is not just about Nigeria or African football, but global football”, he said.
Mr. Infantino who described the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja as a wonderful edifice, added that, it is not just an investment in football but in the youth of this wonderful country.
“FIFA appreciates this kind of investment and looks forward to giving its backing to have the stadium host some big games and competitions to bring life to the heartbeat of the stadium,” Infantino said.
In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said that Nigeria is the leading black nation in the world with talented youth who are not only united through sports, particularly football but also contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the nation.