Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has re-stated his support for national and grassroots sports teams in the country.
The minister made the statement while reacting to reports that he was not in support of the Super Eagles’ campaign for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
“On Thursday, I congratulated the Falconets and the Super Eagles for their astonishing victories against Algeria in a World Cup qualifier and against Canada in the U-20 World Cup,” the minister said.
“I stated that the victories have once again given Nigerians home and abroad hope that Nigerian teams can also compete for titles at stake.
“I also recalled the importance of such victories at the time and called on the Super Falcons to do same at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.”
Dalung described the reports making the rounds as mischievous and intended to perpetrate hatred and discord in the sector.
“I was personally in Uyo in Akwa Ibom to support the Super Eagles to victory. I was in Zambia when they thrashed their hosts 2-1. I went to visit the players in camp in Abuja before they left for Uyo.
“If I do not wish the team to be at the World Cup in Russia then why am I giving them all the support they need?” he said.
The minister called on good spirited Nigerians to continue to support sportsmen and women in the country who also double as nation builders and role models to Nigerian youths.
“Football is not just a game but a business. It is an enterprise which could fetch earnings for the country and gainfully employ Nigerian youths at home and abroad. It has no religion and tribe therefore it fosters national integration and unity.
“We are committed to pursuing those programmes that will build our youths especially sports. I urge sportsmen and women in the country to remain focused and pursue your passion with selflessness because great people in human history have only been remembered by what they stand for and what they were able to do for humanity.
“We will continue to support you in your endeavours where government is needed and will also reward you accordingly in success.” the minister said.