The Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports on Wednesday said it has fixed March 20 to April 6 in 2020 for the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) scheduled for Benin.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who announced the dates said the festival’s opening ceremony would hold on March 22.
“The closing ceremony is fixed for April 2,’’ Dalung, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, said during the extraordinary meeting of the National Council on Sports (NCS) in Benin.
The minister said that with the state’s pedigree in hosting multi-sports events, including the NSF, he was optimistic that Edo would host a successful NSF in 2020.
“Although the festival rules provides for the award of hosting rights four years before the Games to give the host state ample time to effectively plan and prepare for the event, Edo got the rights for the 20th edition with less than 2 years to the fiesta.
“In spite of this, we are confident that the state will perform creditably considering their pedigree in hosting multi-sports events, including the National Sports Festival.
“Having resuscitated the NSF, it is our desire that we will not have cause to experience the kind of break we had between 2012 and 2018 with grievous consequences for national sports development.
“One of the immediate challenges thrown up by the postponement was the apparent succession gap in the athletes representing the country at continental and international Games,” he said.
The minister told the stakeholders that it was their collective responsibility to ensure that the sector contributed its quota to national development.
He thanked Gov. Godwin Obaseki for taking steps to ensure that facilities were upgraded and renovated ahead of the festival.
The minister said he was pleased with the report he got from the Directors of Sports’ Forum, whose members were on tour of sports facilities in Benin.