The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has said the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna will be ready in time as one of the host venues for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in July 2020.
The minister made the statement after an on-the-spot inspection visit to the stadium and further assurances from the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the state will render all the necessary support to host matches if world football governing body, FIFA gives approval for Nigeria to host the biennial event next year.
The Minister, who made this promise while on a tour of the facilities at the 55-year-old stadium on Tuesday, commended the state government for renovation works carried out in the stadium noting that more are needed to be done to further improve on its existing state.
In a release made available by the ministry Director of Press, Lere Adams, it states that the minister defied a heavy downpour, and inspected the main bowl football pitch, the two training pitches, the lawn tennis courts, the 48-room hostel, gymnasium, changing rooms, and other facilities in the complex.
Mr. Dare told journalists after the inspection that the management of the stadium performed impressively in maintaining the aging facilities despite funding challenges.
“There’s room for improvement but I must commend the people tasked with keeping this complex in shape. They have kept the place in fairly good condition. We shall improve on this and get this place in top condition towards the 2020 Under-20 Female World Cup billed for next year.”
The Minister, who kicked off his tour with a visit to the State Governor, Mallam Nasir elRufai, commended the state government for its commitment to grassroots sports and uplifting the youth through friendly competitions. He said this connects well with his Ministry’s larger mandate to unite and empower the youth through sports and other productive activities.
“The Kaduna Govenor is in tune with the Federal Government’s ambitious plans to direct the passion, creativity and energy of the Nigerian youth to lucrative and noble ventures. We welcome his desire to see this stadium go back to its glory days.
“Kaduna has produced sporting icons like the late Sunday Bada, Daniel Amokachi, Celestine Babayaro and Juliana Negedu. These great individuals gave their prime to this nation and I am certain that we can find more like them today, even in other sports. Therefore, the promise by the Kaduna State Government is very much welcome indeed.”
Governor el-Rufai had at a meeting before the tour given the assurance that the state will support in making the Ahmadu Bello Stadium ready for the tournament noting that Kaduna state is prioritizing sports as an avenue for gainfully engaging youths.
The Minister, who rode the Abuja – Kaduna train on both legs of the trip, was received by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Sports Development, Kabir Muhammad Mato.