The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday raised fresh hope of having the postponed 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF), tagged “Edo 2020” amid the COVID-19 scare.
Dare gave the breather while responding to questions on the sidelines of the signing of the N150m worth league sponsorships Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Total E&P and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
The NSF scheduled to have been held in March was put on hold indefinitely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dare, however, hinted that the much-desired “local Olympics” could have a green light to hold in the shortest possible time based on the recommendations from relevant stakeholders.
“It is our desire to have the NSF which I call `Nigerian Olympics’. We have showed commitments, we have a team, we have the report in which it is suggested for October.
“This is based on the COVID-19 infection rate and other infrastructural protocols and we have been working with the Presidential Task Force (PTF), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Health.
“The Sports Ministry will be properly guided, we will have the sports festival and it will feature the contact and non-contact sports.
“The world have started both contact and non-contact sports. There are protocols in place, they are the best practices; if we repeat same here we will get on with our lives,” he said.
Dare said that sports ministry had provided all the necessary documents, adding that there would be a pilot programme with athletes camping for two weeks.
“In a matter of weeks, we have provided all the necessary documents and preparations two months ago, and we have submitted to the PTF.
“A document on contact and non-contact sports with a particular section dedicated to football, so we are all set in a couple of weeks.
“We hope to open athletes’ camps in three different locations, Akure, Abuja and Pankishin in Jos, to help our athletes shove off the rustiness of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“It will be a two weeks camp for about 100 athletes and government will be responsible for their welfare,” he said.