The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare in line with his quest for inclusiveness in sports, on Sunday, watched the final match of the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) between Rivers Angels and Confluence Queens.
Rivers Angels defeated newcomers Confluence Queens by a lone goal courtesy of Cecilia Nku in the second minute of the match to emerge, winners, smiling home with the tournament’s N3m prize money as well as a trip to Spain courtesy a La Liga partnership with the NWPL.
Fielding questions from journalists after the match, Mr Dare praised the skills displayed by the female footballers and promised more support for female football in the country.
“The question should be, with this level of professional skills we have seen on display today, what would the Ministry do more to help them? I am impressed by what I have seen today, we have seen female professional football at its best, we’ve seen the exhibition of talents, we know some of our footballers are headed for the Professional League outside of this country, all I can say is that the Ministry would partner with the Federation, we will also try to see that we get the sponsorship to support them to do better.”
Speaking on the Nigeria professional football league which just commenced, the Minister expressed his delight with the commencement of the domestic league after two false starts adding that the issues bedevilling the league will be dealt with. “We will meet with all the key stakeholders before the end of November to start to draw a strategic plan on how to improve the domestic league. Like I said earlier, it is very critical, it is the engine room of our football development, that’s where we produce our professional players that can go abroad, so we are going to pay close attention working with the NFF, the club owners and the referees and coaches to isolate the issues and deal with them.”
He also reiterated his Ministry’s commitment to supporting other sports. “We started out by making a declaration to support other sports. I have watched football games, I have watched Badminton games, I have watched Handball games, I have been to Basketball games, I have also been to Athletics. That shows our clear direction, it signposts where we are headed and in the coming months in terms of resources, we will make sure we provide resources and support through private funding. We will support virtually every critical sports, about 11 of them where this country has a competitive edge, particularly I have the Olympics in sight Tokyo 2020”.
The Minister who earlier held two high-level side meetings geared towards greater Youth and Sports Development, before arriving in watching the final match of the NWPL at the Agege Stadium, headed out immediately to watch another final match, this time beach soccer of the Copa Lagos competition.
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