The Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Tammy Danagogo has identified sports as a veritable tool for rebranding Nigeria, boosting national unity, serving as a bridge builder as well as fostering peaceful co-existence in the country.
The Minister made this assertion yesterday when he received in audience a delegation of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club led by the President General Worldwide, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo.
According to him, “whenever there is a national or international sporting event, Nigerians forget their religious, ethnicity, gender, age, cultural divide and unite as one to support a common goal because sports redefines what we really are or stand for; a peace loving nation”.
The Minister noted that “without the presence of the indefatigable supporters club to spur and motivate the players to victory, the national players would be like orphans without a virile base or support.
He consequently urged them to continue to maintain the zeal and energy that would galvanize the spirit of excellence in our national teams.
Dr. Danagogo said that Nigeria was blessed at this time to have a President who is truly interested in sports development and pledged the government support to ensure that Nigeria attain a semi-final target.
Earlier in his remarks, the President Worldwide of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo said the club was at the NSC to congratulate the Minister on his well deserved appointment as well as to formally welcome him to “seat that houses the cradle of unity in Nigeria” saying that “it is only when the National Sports Commission takes to the field that Nigerians come together in unity irrespective of tribe and tongue”.
Dr. Rafiu further stated that the NSC is the only government institution or establishment that inspires other countries of the world to think positively of the nation’s image.
Dr. Oladipo said that the supporters club will not relent in its efforts to continue to motivate our players and to this end he revealed that sometimes members even have to fast and pray for days for the success of our national teams.
He however lamented that until now when the President Goodluck Jonathan approved the release of N50m for the club to mobilize massive support from the Super Eagles that in the past members mostly used to task themselves to ensure support for the team.
He used the occasion to call for support from sports loving Nigerians to support the club so that their presence will be felt at Brazil.
In a related development, the sports minister commended the Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, His Excellency, Ambassador Adamu Emozozo who was also in his office to brief him on measures so far taken to ensure Nigeria’s excellent outing at the Mundial.
Speaking, the Ambassador revealed that about 200m Brazilians were anxiously waiting for the Super Eagles.