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Sports Ministry Reacts to Nigeria’s Ouster from 2022 World Cup

Sunday Dare (in tie) with the 6-man probe panel

Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Akin Dare has finally given his verdict following the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, later this year.

Nigeria missed out on a spot at the Mundial in November following a 1-1 draw against the Black Stars in a second-leg playoff qualifier on Tuesday, March 29.

The 1-1 draw at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja saw Ghana book their ticket to the World Cup through an away goal rule.

Dare had boasted ahead of the first leg fixture in Kumasi that the Super Eagles were going to beat Ghana.

But he has now reacted to the failure of the Super Eagles with a statement;

“It is most unfortunate and regrettable that we are not going to Qatar, but that is sports. Nothing is 100% certain.

“On our part, the Federal Government gave every support necessary. We got the stadium ready in all its glory. We mobilized Nigerians and other football lovers to fill up the stadium. The NFF called up a solid cast of players.

“At least 60,000 voices sang the National Anthem in what must have been one of the most uplifting moments one could imagine. The fans gave their vocal support till the very end; and the president of the nation, though saddened by the tragic events in Kaduna was determined to lend his support, Dare added.

However, Dare condemned the crowd troubles that happened at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium after the final whistle.

Fans invaded the pitch and started destroying properties, while some other persons were physically attacked.

According to the Minister, “Vandalizing and destroying sporting infrastructure at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium is not acceptable regardless of unhappiness. The Nigerians that did this must be condemned”.

He said when he watched the clips and after inspecting the damage, knowing the work and the efforts and resources that have gone into resuscitating the edifice, both from the private and public sectors, it was just very saddening that all these were done in a single day of rage.

Admitting that he was weighed down by Nigeria missing out of the 2022 World Cup and then the vandalization. A very sad development. I saw a number of young people destroying valuable items in the stadium. Obviously, as Nigerians, they have a right to be disappointed, the minister yesterday inaugurated a panel, which was given two weeks to investigate & unravel the immediate & remote causes of the unprecedented pitch invasion, which has seen the MKO Abiola Nat’l Stadium, Abuja banned indefinitely by football’s World Governing Body (FIFA), from hosting international football matches, henceforth.

The reaction from Dare comes after the Nigeria Football Federation issued an apology to President Muhammadu Buhari-led government over the Super Eagles’ failure to pick up a World Cup ticket.

Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Tina Oyinsan