President Muhammadu Buhari would soon host a special reception in honour of the country’s athletes that won laurels at the recently concluded African games.This was disclosed by the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja Wednesday.
He said the national female and male basketball teams, otherwise called ‘D’Tigress and D’Tigers,’ would also be honoured for making the country proud.“As to whether there will a presidential reception for medalists from Morocco, yes there will be. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has written the Presidency, so that the President can give us a date that is suitable.
“Beyond the medalists form Morocco, we are going to have ‘ D’Tigress and D’Tigers.’ D’Tigress won the Afro Basket gold medal while D’Tigers qualified for the Olympics, so when you look at it, we are virtually African champions when it comes to both female and male basketball so there will be a reception definitely,” he said.
On whether there would be cash rewards for the athletes or not, the minister said it remains the president’s exclusive discretion to do so.“As to whether there will be a package with it, I am not the President that is left entirely at the discretion of the President but we’ve made recommendations,” he said.
The minister, who praised the remarkable achievement of Nigeria’s contingent to the African games, said he briefed the Federal Executive Council on the successes recorded at the continental sports fiesta.
He said the country came overall 2nd on the medals table with 127 medals, comprising 46 gold, 33 silver and 48 bronze medals, adding that female athletes garnered 74 medals while their male counterparts garnered 50.
On the dilapidated condition of stadia in the country, the minister said the facilities suffered neglect in the past but the current administration is working hard to restore their glory.
He said N1.2 billion is needed annually for stadia maintenance, stressing that while such fund is not available, the ministry was exploiting partnership with the private sector.