Despite her status as one of Africa’s biggest football nations, Nigeria boast only one A-level football stadium, and the country’s sports minister is keen to change that narrative
The Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has revealed that there is just one FIFA standard stadium in the entire country. Still, plans are in the advanced stage to rehabilitate some of the world-class stadiums in the land.
To get the stadium reconstruction works done while faced with financial challenges, the Minister says some of Nigeria’s top business magnates provide the funds needed for renovation in exchange for some concessions through the sports ministry’s adopt-a-football-pitch programme.
Home to the Super Eagles since it was opened in 2014, the 30,000-capacity all-seater ultra-modern Godswill Obot Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State is the only FIFA standard stadium in Nigeria, and it could even lose that status in 2021.
But with the financial assistance from Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and another of Nigeria’s top entrepreneurs Chief Adebutu (Baba Ijebu), Nigeria may soon have the national stadiums in Abuja and Lagos return to their previous glory.
“We have only one FIFA standard stadium in Uyo, which will Lose that status in 2021,” Mr. Dare told the media, as per the Guardian.
“That is why we are resuscitating the stadiums across the country.
“With the adopt-a-football pitch programme, we will recover the national stadiums in Abuja and Lagos through Dangote and Chief Adebutu, respectively.
“At the Abuja Stadium, after the renovation work, we will brand 5,000 pitch panels with Dangote logos. He will also get some suites and other amenities in the stadium. The Abuja Stadium will be ready by July 2021.
“The Lagos Stadium will also be ready by the middle of next year. Baba Ijebu, who is bankrolling the reconstruction of the pitches and tracks, among others, will get the same consideration as Dangote.”
The 60,000-capacity Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, was completed in 2003 to host the 8th All Africa Games later that year but has been mainly left abandoned over the years.