The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) says football remains the number one sport in Nigeria and a national asset.

According to Buhari, his regime will oppose any attempt to undermine its development.

He stated this when he received the 10-year Football Development Master Plan submitted by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in Abuja on Tuesday.

“It is the government’s responsibility to protect and treat the sport, which has brought Nigeria many laurels, as a national asset, just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility and dedication from those charged with the administration of our football.”

Buhari also urged stakeholders to cooperate constructively and patriotically.

“We have seen attempts to disparage and undermine the institutions that oversee our sports. We have seen attempts to subjugate national interest to narrow interest or disrespect Nigeria’s laws. Nigeria will not take any attempt to injure its football fortunes lightly,” he added.

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The president took the opportunity to outline his expectations from the two-part report.

He instructed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigerian Football Federation to start its implementation in phases.

He said this should be carried out within the fine lines of the relevant sections of the Nigerian sports development laws and the statutes of the world football organization FIFA.

Buhari added: “This administration is interested in developing a football culture suitable for global best practices. This will also help the country build a solid foundation for domestic football and establish professionally and efficiently run competitions.

“It will also help anchor a consistent and stable football calendar and create a value chain that will boost the sports ecosystem.”

He said achieving this would ensure the desired progress in continental and international competitions.

“I know that a lot of work has gone into putting together this 10-year master plan. I received regular briefings about the work being done and I am happy that our goal has been achieved.”

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