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Dare condemns Abuja stadium stampede, says vandalism of facilities under investigation

Dare condemns Abuja stadium stampede, says vandalism of facilities under investigation
March 31
07:51 2022

Sunday Dare, minister of sports and youth development, has condemned the vandalisation of facilities at the newly refurbished Moshood Abiola stadium by fans following Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Black Stars of Ghana ended Nigeria’s dream of becoming the first African country to qualify for four consecutive World Cups.

The Ghanaians secured a 1-1 draw in Abuja on Tuesday to progress to the World Cup based on the away goals rule — after holding Nigeria to a goalless draw in Kumasi last Friday.

Following the final whistle, some fans stormed the pitch and damaged the facilities in the stadium.

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Reacting to the vandalism in a statement released on Wednesday evening, Dare said he understands that Nigerians are “unhappy” due to the failure of the country to qualify for the tournament billed for Qatar.

He, however, said destroying sporting infrastructure at the Abuja stadium is not the “acceptable manner to show unhappiness.”

The minister said no Nigerian has the “right to destroy public property in which taxpayers’ money has been invested and funds from patriotic private individuals.”

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Dare also said two committees had been set up to investigate the pre-match preparedness and vandalisation, adding that a “comprehensive report” on the incident would be “x-rayed” on April 5.

“We drew 0-0 in Kumasi and drew 1-1 here, and that meant the away goal rule gave Ghana the edge. It is most unfortunate and regrettable that we are not going to Qatar, but that is sports. Nothing is 100% certain,” the minister said.

“On our part, the Federal Government gave every support necessary. We got the stadium ready in all its glory; we got people mobilised to fill up the stadium. The NFF called up a solid cast of players.

“We will move quickly because we still have a lot of work to do to give Nigerians the calibre of senior team it deserves. We will review all that we did leading to the game, take tough steps to redirect the development of our football and restore the DNA of Nigerian football. Whatever is necessary will be done quietly, firmly and determinedly.

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“I believe better days are ahead for Nigerian football, but only if we make the necessary changes. We need to rebrand our football and return to the grassroots and youth football culture of the past. Nigeria is a football-loving nation, and it deserves the best.

“I understand the unhappiness that followed our non-qualification for Qatar 2022. We take responsibility. We rebuild again. We thank the Super Eagles players for their service.

“Vandalizing and destroying sporting infrastructure at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium is not the acceptable manner to show unhappiness. The young Nigerians that did this must be condemned.

“When I watched the clips, and after I inspected the damage, knowing the work and the amount of efforts and resources that have gone into the edifice both from the private and public sectors, it was just very saddening. In a single day, I was weighed down by our missing out on the World Cup and then the vandalization. A sad development, no doubt.

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“I saw a number of young persons destroying things in the stadium. Obviously, as Nigerians, they have a right to be angry, but they do not have the right to destroy public property in which taxpayers’ money has been invested and funds from patriotic private individuals.

“Already work is going on. Two committees are working concurrently. An investigative committee is looking at the security breaches and the vandalization that occurred, while the other committee is a combination of people from the Sports Ministry, the NFF, Para Military and Security people. They worked on the Nigeria -Ghana match preparations.

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“They are expected to give a comprehensive report by Tuesday next week. All Of that will be xrayed.”

“On the whole, the efforts we have been itching at for the past three years will soon come together. I am happy that we are close to having a football master plan. The events of Tuesday highlight our need for a football master plan. I appeal for the patience of Nigerians.”

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TheCable had reported how Aliko Dangote earmarked $1 million for the renovation of some parts of the 60,000 capacity stadium in August 2020.

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