Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari is to host Team Nigeria which finished second at the just concluded African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, made the disclosure while briefing State House reporters on his presentation to Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.
He said that letters have been written and a decision will soon be taken on the appropriate date for the reception, which will also include national male and female basketball teams D’Tigers and D’Tigeress.
Dare said that the Morocco outing will serve as a benchmark for Nigeria’s 2020 Olympics preparation.
Team Nigeria finished second place at Rabat behind Egypt at the just concluded African Games, the having won a total of 121 medals: comprising of 46 golds, 33 silvers and 47 bronzes.
Egypt emerged at the top on the medal table with 99 gold medals, 96 silvers and 69 bronzes to bring their total medal haul to 264.
South Africa came third with a total of 87 medals.
Noting that Team Nigeria only had seven weeks to prepare for the Games, Dare said that country would have done even better if it had taken longer to get ready.
“So there is a lesson learnt from there,” the Sports Minister said.
Dare remarked that the athletes will leave for the Doha Meet on Saturday, adding that the outcome will determine Nigeria’s performance in the 2020 June Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking on the dilapidated nature of stadia across the country, the Minister said that N1.2 billion is needed annually for stadia maintenance.
While stating that such funds are not available, Dare said that the ministry was exploring partnerships with the private sector.