… kicks off on Feb 14 to 28th 2021
The National Council on Sports (NCS) has approved the postponement of the National Sports Festival (NSF) again from January to February 14 – 28, 2021 in Edo State, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Gabriel Aduda, announced in Abuja.
The Council, under the leadership of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, at a virtual NCS meeting on Tuesday unanimously agreed to the postponement in a statement.
“The National Council on Sports under the chairmanship of the Hon Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr Sunday Dare at an Extra-Ordinary Council on Sports Virtual meeting held today 15th December 2020, unanimously agreed to host the NSF 2020 on 14- 28th 2021,” the statement said.
“Justifying the reasons behind the postponement from the initial date of 3rd-18th December 2020; the Hon. Minister explained to members of Council the need for better precautionary measures against COVID19 bearing in mind the expected influx of holidaymakers during the festive period, as agreed between the Ministry, the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 and the Host State.
“Recall that the National Sports Festival tagged ‘EDO 2020’ was originally slated to hold early this year ( precisely March) but for the outbreak of the COVID-19 which necessitated the Postponement and suspension of all sporting activities to guard against the spread of the coronavirus nationwide.”
The festival was initially scheduled to hold in March in Benin, Edo State but was postponed till December due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The December date was shelved by the PTF, who said the country was not safe enough from COVID-19 to allow such a crowd-pulling event to hold in the country.
The Chairman Organising Committee who doubles as the Deputy Governor of Edo state, Phillip Shuaibu, frowned at the turning down of the kick-off date of the championship which supposed to start on December 5th.
While speaking with newsmen in Edo state, Phillip said; “How can PTF who approved that we can now start contact sports, the same PTF approves opening of NYSC camps across the country. The same PTF approves that we can all go to churches and mosques. All the market places are opened and you say we can not hold the National Sports Festival.
“Now, this is sports where we can control the crowd that comes to the stadium.” He concluded.
The PTF on Coronavirus lifted the ban on contact sports in October 2020 and that paved the way for the Ministry of Sports and Edo State Government to come up with December 3rd to 18th date for the Edo 2020 Festival.
It will be recalled the nation’s sports writer’s body, SWAN has faulted the early January date for the 20th National Sports Festivals scheduled to hold from January 3 through January 17 in Benin City, Edo State.
SWAN in a communique issued after its expanded National Executive Council meeting in Abuja recently urged the federal sports ministry, Edo State government and the Presidential Task Force on Covid 19 to harmonize and come up with a suitable date for the Nigerian ‘Olympic’.
Delta State are the defending champions of the National Sports Festival following their spectacular show at the last edition held in Abuja.