Sport Minister Sunday Dare announced, Wednesday, that all remaining restrictions on sports will be lifted soon.
The minister’s declaration via his Twitter handle comes amid heightened dissatisfaction with the continued ban of contact-sports even as most sectors of the country has been opened up after the coronavirus virus occasioned national lockdown.
Sports in Nigeria was shut down in March as the coronavirus pandemic raged but the country recently granted permission for the resumption of non-contact sports as infection figures dropped and the government opened up the economy.
However, while virtually all aspects of national and economic life have returned to a semblance of normalcy, all contact-sports remains banned with no timelines for its resumption.
Hopes that football along with other non-contact sports will resume before the end of the year were dashed when the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 reiterated last month, that no plans were in the offing for lifting restrictions.
The situation is particularly fraught given that the country’s men and women’s U20 and U17 teams have qualifiers scheduled at home within the next two weeks and the Super Eagles also have an 2021 AFCON qualifier against Sierra Leone next month.
Amid heightened clamour by athletes, stakeholders and administrators for the resumption of non-contact sports, Dare assured the Sports Ministry has set in motion all requirements necessary to lift restrictions whilst ensuring strict compliance to all Covid-19 prevention protocols.
“We are hopeful that the re-opening of all sports will be shortly upon us,” Dare wrote on Twitter.
“The Ministry has done all that’s necessary and required especially with regard to the COVID-19 protocols. The PTF, Health Ministry and NCDC have guided appropriately. A bit of Patience. Sports lovers,” he added.