The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has pledged to build football pitches in public places if elected as president in 2023.
According to him, that is the model Morocco which on Saturday became the first African country to reach a World Cup semi-final used in the development of their sports talents.
“What is found in Morocco is that they have provided football playing fields in almost every neighbourhood. In every neighbourhood you go to in Morocco, small villages, towns, and cities, you find that that they have provided public football playing fields.
“You will see as young as primary school children playing football early in the morning before they go to school and later in the evening when they return from school, I think we have to encourage that,” Atiku said on Sunday during Channels Television Peoples Townhall.
The former Vice President also emphasised the importance of private sector involvement in sports, pledging to encourage all sectors of the economy to invest in sports rather than leaving it only for the government.
He further stated that all levels of government would be encouraged to be part of sports development, adding that with that the federal government will make sure they support sub-national governments in providing sporting facilities in public places and as well as institutions.
Corroborating Atiku’s position, his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said that the involvement of the sub-national government in sports development cannot be overemphasised.
Okowa said that Delta State has dominated the National Sports Festival because of the facilities the state government has provided for its sportsmen and women.
The PDP presidential running mate also boasted that many of the athletes developed by the state have won scholarships in the United States because they had the necessary facilities for their development.