By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€”AS PresidentÂ Â Umaru Yarâ€™Adua yesterday hosted world football icon and legend, Brazilian Edson Arantes De Nascimeto, popularly known as Pele, the Nigerian GovernmentÂ announced its intention to float a sports development plan so as to harness the countryâ€™s great sports potential.
Pele, who was the toast of everyone at the State House, was one of the members of a delegation of the International Olympic Committee which was led by its President, Mr. Jacques Rogge, on a courtesy visit to the Nigeria leader.
Speaking at the occasion, Yarâ€™Adua said the Federal Government would implement a comprehensive sports development programme in the country.
The programme, according to him, would involve the provision of sports facilities in all the communities and local government councils, capacity building as well as funding; and would beÂ developed by the National Sports Commission.
He explained that the development of sports was for a long time ignored in Nigeria and other African countries.
â€œWe have realised this and we are now going to ensure massive investment in sports developmentâ€, he said.
While â€œinvestment in sports is like investment in educationâ€, the President stressed that Nigeria would share the programme with other African countries, and would require partnership with the IOC and other international bodies.
YarÃdua also pledged his administrationâ€™s support for the IOC.
Commenting on Pele, Yarâ€™Adua said, â€œIn any human endeavour, God produces a wonder; and that is what he has done in Peleâ€.
Speaking earlier, Rogge thanked Nigeria for accepting to host the headquarters of ANOCA.
â€œThe IOC would support all the efforts of Africa, particularly Nigeriaâ€, Rogge said.