Former Super Eagles and Manchester United striker, Odion Ighalo has commended the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare over the state of the renovation going on at the MKO Abiola Stadium Abuja.
Ighalo made this commendation when he paid a courtesy visit to Dare at stadium on Tuesday.
According to Ighalo, the stadium was an eyesore the last time he saw the pitch on the television.
“I want to commend honorable minister for this great job he is doing, I will tell you the last time I played here was 17 years ago and I remember that pitch was great and after then seeing the pitch on the TV is embarrassing but what I’m seeing now, I’m really happy because it’s coming back.
“This is the main bowl, this is where Nigeria is supposed to be playing our National Team games, and so, we’re happy it’s coming back to life so we can’t wait to see how it’s going to look like after the finishing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ighalo has been named as an Ambassador of the National Principal’s Cup by the sports minister.
“It gladens our heart in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development where we have the mandate for sports development when we see our great players excel in all parts of the world, this gives us a sence of national pride.
“You have stood tall with very good players around the world, I hope that other great internationals, not just football stars will follow your footsteps by identifying with us on how to move forward. Your profile and exploits in the field of play speaks a lot and I think the climax in your career is the bold step you took to join Manchester United .
“I’m more excited that you played for the Under 20, under 23 and the super Eagles in a very remarkable way. You have served this country faithfully and you will continue to be a good Ambassador of this country.
It is of note that the Principal’s Cup which had been abandoned for 25 years was revived recently. The 2021 edition was just concluded in April with about 250 schools participating.
“This year’s edition is a test run to bring It back gradually. Right now we not only have a Principal’s cup but a National Principal’s cup.As we roll into the second edition we will be looking at 2500 secondary schools participating.”
“Note that Principal’s Cup used to be the engine room that supplied most of our best players and it speaks to the heart of Grass root Sports Development.
“To give it life, we came up with Flagship Ambassadors of the Principal’s Cup with Daniel Amokachi, Joseph Dosu, Mary Onyali, Tajudeen Disu picked as Ambassadors. You have also been appointed As National Principal’s Cup Ambassador to motivate our young students,” he said.
Ighalo established a football academy in Lagos where he also runs an orphanage.
In his response Ighalo said “its a great privilege to see you sir, and I have been following up what you’ve been doing, granting me a chance to see you means alot to me. For the first time we’ve seen sports moving forward as business in Nigeria with your push and initiatives. Thank you so much for what you ate doing for sports Development”
He assured that he would be available to play in the ex stars game when the rehabilitation of the stadium is completed